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Full text of "Journal kept by Hugh Finlay, Surveyor of the Post Roads on the Continent of North America, during his survey of the post offices between Falmouth and Casco Bay in the Province of Massachusetts, and Savannah in Georgia : begun the 13th Septr. 1773 and ended 26th June 1774"

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Darlington Memorial Library 










Journal kept by Hugh Finlay. 

25 Copies 
No. /^. 


1 « 11 It a I 

kept by Hugh Fiiilay, Surveyor of the Post Roads 
on the Continent of North America, 

Surbeg of the post ^ffircs 

between Falmouth and Casco Bay 

in the Province of Massachusetts, 


Savannah in Georgia; 

begun the 13th Septr. 1773 ^"d ended 26th June 1774. 


Entered accordii 


" Fixlay's Joubnal," a JIs. of 84 pp., written in a small, exceedingly neat, and per- 
fectly legible hand, bound in official vellum, and illustrated with two pen-and-ink maps, 
and a small vignette drawing, came into my possession in this wise. 

One John Hawkins, an Englishman, and a professor of the Swedenborgian faith, was 
sent out to this country about the year 1854, by that sect, as is supposed with a design to 
propagate the belief in the United States. 

He does not seem to have met with distinguished success, either in religious or secular 
matters, for while there is no record of his having made converts on the one part, it is cer- 
tain that having entered into business, he failed dismally on the other, and his belongings 
were sold at auction. 

Among various documents, correspondence and other writings that fell into the posses- 
sion of the auctioneer, was this manuscript, which was brought to me early in October last 
by his son, and from whom I at once purchased it, perceiving, as I thought, that it must 
possess some intrinsic value. 

A careful n-adiu;; ot'il.und couvcr.satiim with various gentlemen upon whose judgment 
in such matters I could rely, confirmed nic in my opinion, and induced me to print a small 
edition of the work by subscription. 

In printing this edition I have adhered riiiidly to the original, so that the book is a true 
copy of the Ms. of Hugh Finlay, vcrbutim ct Ulcmtim, ct puiictuatiin. 

While I did not bind myself in my announcement to add anything of luy own to the 
book, I yet had it in view to give some slight sketch appropriate to the subject, and to make 

This intention I propose to carry out in the present introduction, not with any view 
of completeness, or even of historical accuracy, because my sources of information are meagre 
and impossible to verify ; but simply with a design to throw some light on the whole ques- 
tion as an important one in the history of the formation of our body politic. 

The following quotation will give a good idea of the condition of postal communication 
in the colonies, prior to the establishment of an organized ]pc>st office. 

" In the American Colonies,* the postal sor 
yond the sea were usually delivered on board 
whom they were addressed ; every family send 
receiving letters. Letters not called for were t 
the wharf, where they lay spread out on a tabic, 
sons coming from adjacent settlements called at 
their own letters, but all the letters belonging 
either delivered in person, or deposited at thr In 
relative of tin- individiuil to wlinm tlir htfc -r \\:i> 

town and destimd !■■ a |il:irr in tlic interior, as w 
directed to an mlial.itant of tlic town. As the .•■ 

s : Letters arriving fro 
the hands of the ]iersi 
on board for the purpi 
antain to a coffee-house 

it became usual to li 
inhabitants of tliai s. 
"Thus, several 
rude, slow, unsafe, h 
the establishment of 
ence of the people fo 


ship coffee-house, letters written in the 

1 as letters brought from the country and 

tlements grew in number and magnitude 

I directed to one of them at the inn most frequented by the 

re there was a post-office or a post-rider in the colonies, a 
■Iv svstem of letter delivery had sprung up; and long after 
r.' this neighborly method continued to be the main depend- 
tiortation of letters for short distances." 

Massachusetts seems to have been forcu 
system, since in the year 1639, the General C'l 

shment of a legal pos 
issued the following i 

■• It is Ordered, that 
the place appointed for .all 1 
thither, to be left with hiiu 
cording to the directions ; ; 
all miscarriages tliroiij;li liis 

that Richard Fairhank.s, his house in Boston, is 
' brought from beyond the seas, or are to be sent 
ke care that they are to be delivered or sent ac- 
il for every letter a penny, and he must : 

this kind." 

I Life of Franklir 

York, lS6+. 

In Virginia the colonial law of 1G5T, required every planter to proviJe a messenger to 
convey the despatches as they arrived, to the next plantation and so on, on pain of forfeiting 
a hogshead of tobacco for default. 

In 1672, the government of Xew York established a monthly mail to Boston, advertis- 

" Those that be disposed to send letters, to bring them to the Secretary's Office, where 
in a locked box they shall be preserved till the messenger calls for them ; all persons pay- 
ing the post before the bagg be sealed up."* 

Thirty years later this monthly post had became a fortnightly one, as we see by the 
following paragraph in the Boston News Litter. 

" By order of the Postmaster General of North America. These arc to give notice, 
that on Monday night the (jth of December, the Western Post between Boston and New 
York sets out once a fortnight, the three winter months of December, January and February, 
and to go alternately from Boston to Saybrook and Hartford to exchange the mail of letters 
with the New York Kyder the first turn for Saybrook, to meet the New York Kyder on Sa- 
tnrdiiy ni^lit, the 11th currant ; an(^ the second turn he sets out at Boston on Monday night 
the -Jmh currant, to meet the New York Ryder at Hartford, on Saturday night the 25th cur- 
rant, to exchange mails ; and all persons who send letters from Boston to Connecticut from 
and after the 13th instant, are hereVjy notified first to pay the postage on the same."t 

674. roNNErTirrT. 

■ \i:.,..,r (:,„...,' r, „ ' /A •. . ■ M7(] 

" This Court bciu;; iiKiilr >rii,-ilil.' nl li.. i n : > i my accrue to the publique 

by a liberty or boldnc» wliirh -iiiH, |„ 1 •. Ives (when employed by 

order of authority for the c"uvc\uncc of kiui.-, i»..~i, ,unl oiliti important occasions of this 
colony) by profuse and extravagant spending at the ordinaries and other places on the road 
upon the countryes acct, and allso by great delayes on journeyes, very prejudiciall to the co- 
lony, which willing to prevent, doe therefore order that the allowance for those persons (who 
shall be employed on such service) for their wages and expences of themselves and horses, 
shall be as followeth, from the first of May to the middle of October : [here follows a long 
list of prices at various places, too extensive to copy.] 

"And from the middle of October to the last of Aprill, to be eight pence more than the 
above, for every night they lye out, for oates to the horses, wherein great care is to be had 
by the ordinary keepers, that hyred horses are not deprived of their allowance. Allso, the 

differences in the abovesayed sums is to be the stated wages from towne to towne, if they 
goe not to Hartford ; and the like proportion by the mile to those whoe shall be employed 
in this Colony where their wages is not stated. 

" It is further ordered, that all posts their ferridge shall be on the country account, and 
that the ordinary keepers in the respective plantations shall provide suitable accomodations 
for men and horse, whose allowance for the man by the meale shall be sixpence, and for the 
horse at grass, fewer pence a night, and for oates, fower pence the halfe peck, and for hay 

I allso ovdi 
tayne his journey 1 
other just occasion 
extraordinarily as t 
in his wages."* 

shall unnecessarily stop or de- 
rd or detayued by authority or 
[K'nalty or receive reconipence 
^ht to be abated or augmented 


■ The Coil 

date Janv. Gtli, 1G7 


rt of Ma 


it the time. 

" Whereas the publick occasions of the country doe frequently require that messengers 
be sent post, and as yet, no stated allowance settled in such cases, it is ordered by this 
Court and the authority thereof, that from henceforth every person so sent upon the pub- 
licke service of the .nuiiii y sh:ill be all. .wed by t\w TivaMiivr after the rate of three pence 
a mile to the place tn \\ hirlj lie i> .^mt. in iii'iiir\ , :i> lull ^.iii-faction for the expence of horse 
ad man ; and no iiiliold.i- >liall uiki- .if any mi. li n).--.!.;;. i- ..r others travayling upon pub- 

licke ser 

.1 f.. 

jwer pene 

for ha 

In the year 1G77, in an.swer to the reque,.<t .if scvo-al nuTchants of ]{..stnu, dec 

■' thev have heard iiiaiiv .'.miplaiuts bv ii.i-r.-liaiits and ..tiiers that hav.^ binn 
ble of thc',. ,.r whereby merchanis with tli.'ir tn.' an.l iin|.l.iv,.r> in f„r 
parts are <;r.:iil\ .l.'niiiiln.l {.sic,) many times the l.'ltci-^ ai.' iin|inii'.| ami tln.iwni' up 
exchange, that \. li.. will may take them up ; n.i |Hi--i.n wit liniii »..m.' -m i-l;n i am beii 
ling to tnml.l.' th.n la.iis..s therewith; theretnr.' hnmlily il.>ii.>. tin- ...nit i.. .liq.uti 
meete person to take m and convey letters according to y' direeti.m, ' * ' " this 
jiidgeth it meete to grant the petitioners request herein, and have made ehuyce of .Mr 
Hay ward the Scrivener to be the person for that service.^:" 


In IGSO John HaywarJ or (Haywood) was appointed post-master of the whole colony, 
and in 1(389 Richard Wilkins was appointed " to receive all letters, and to deliver out the 
same, and to receive on each one Penny."* 


In July 1683, 'miliam Penn issued an order for the establishment of a Post Office, 
and granted to Henrv Waldv of Tekonay, .authority to hold one and " to supply passengers 
with hnr^'^ iVniii l'l,il:i,l, l|,liia t,. -\.w C'astle or to the Falls." 

•L.iir,- i,n„i il,>"l'all. tn n,il:Mlelphia8d., to Chcster .5 d., to New Castle 7 d., to 
Jlarylau.l -.) d. Aud tVum X'hiladelphia to Chester 2 d. to New Castle 4 d., and to Mary- 
land 6 d." This post went once a week, and was to be carefidly published " on the meeting- 
house door, and other public places." t 

In New Hampshire, a post-office was establi-shed by the Colony in 1(393. 

In Maine, previous to the Revolution, the post came at the oftenest, but once a week 
to Portland from the West, but it was by no means regular. It was not until about 1760 
that a weekly mail was established further east than Portsmouth ; before that time it was 
not sent until a sufficient number pf letters were collected to pay the espence. 

The first attempt to systematize and regulate postal communication was in 1660 by Act 
of Parliament, previous to that date it had been in the hands of private parties. 

In the year 1692 in the reign of William and Mary, in the Colony of Virginia, was 
passed the following Act. 

"An Act for encouraging the erecting of a Post-Office in this Coiintri/. 

"Where.vs the creetinn and establishment of a post-.,ffi<e within this cnlonv is con- 

civedofgencr:iIl , ^ih- ,„.,,,. i,t :.n.\ nf niv.t .,h.i,ti,-r f-r th.^ in,i. i- ! | n -, -'..ti^nof 

trade and cnim n ■ iL. ' ,■ i-i ili-r.'l,\ -|,rr,l\ I -:,t'r .li-|,:ii. I, m,,;, '. ; : , i «lirreas 

theire majestic . I H . ; , !. ; ;. i - rninii iiinlii ilir ^i ,mi,' -rjlr ..i I : _ ' !• i ' ■ nrj date 
the 17th davnf I', l.l,l,l^ n, rl,.. -Ith .if tlirir itI-ii,. h;lV^^l^^,, ); i.r . Th. .;,,:, - Xeale 
esq. his executors, administrators and assigns full power and authority to erect, settle and 
establi-sh within the chiefe portes of theire severall i.slands, colonyes and plantations 
in America, an office or offices for the receiving and despatching away of letters and 

' Willis, Hist, of Portland, p. 584. 

pacquetts, aiul to receive, send and delivei- tlie «ame under sucli rates and sumes of money 
as the planters or iulialiitaiils sluiul.l ,inrci> t<i ;;ivr m- should be proportionable to the rates 
for the ean-iage of l.ftns, iiM ii t^iinnl in ilir ,m t .if Parliament for the erecting and estab- 
lishing a post offiie, to hold ,nid nijiiy thr >jiiio for the terme of one and twenty yeares 
under the yeiircly rent of >ix >lii]liii-s :nol ri^jlit |ience as by the said letters patents rela- 
tion thereunto ).i-\\i<^ had will nioir fully a]i|iiMii- 

"Be i/ III, ,, jiiii i inn I, il 1,11 III, u',,; I II,, I . ' ,,,,ii,i'U and burgesses of this prese nt General 
Assemhlij nml lli, niillmnl i; lli, i,;,l. ninl il i ■■ I,,,, I,,/ emictei/, 

"That if the said Thoi.i:i> \,mIo hi. Mil,-iitiitr>, Mil,,-tiliitr or dejaity shall liv virtue of 
the said letters patent erect sdtlc ami>li in -imc roinminit ].\av\' wkIiiii iliis colony 
and dominion, one generall po-t oHi.'c f,oin « inncc all Ictiri'- ,iod |.aci|U.'t> h halsocvcr may 
with expedition be sent unto any part of this colony uud to every other place whatsoever 
and at which said office all returues and answers may be received and shall al.soe in each 
county within this colony, settle and establish one or more post offices as is in this act here- 
inafter provided, then it shall and may be lawfnll to and for the said Tho. Neale Esq., his 
substitutes and deputyc- liy liini thcrciiiito siitli icntly authorized, to demand, have, receive 
and take for the posti^ic ami convrvim v for all sio li letters which he or they shall soe con- 
veye, carry or send |i.i>i, a. mi Jin^r i,, th.' -r\,iall rato and sumes of current money here- 
after mentioned not to cxcrd the same, that is to say, for the post of every letter not exceed- 
ing one sheet to or from any place not exceeding fourscore English miles distance from the 
place where such letter shall be received three pence, and for the like post of every letter not 
exceeding two sheets sixpence, and for the like post of every paequet of letters proportionable 
unto the said rates, that is to say, for every sheet not exceeding two sheets to advance five 
pence and noe more, and for the like post of every paequet of writs, deeds and other things 
after the rate of twelve pence for every ounce weight, and for the post of every letter not 
exceeding one sheet above the distance of foiirseore English miles from the place where 
the same shall be received four pence half jHoiny, and for the like post of a letter not ex- 
ceeding two sheets nine pence, and proportionaMc to rate tor tlir like po-t ot all paeqiicts 
of letters, that is to say, for every sheet exce. .liii;; two >lieei> to ad\aio-e fnor peio c half 
penny and noe more, and for the like post of wiits, deeds and other thiuj;s after the rates 
of eighteen pence for every ounce vveiehi /,i,ni,l, ,1 nil,,,, i/s, that all merchants accounts 
and bills of exchange, invoyces and lull- .if loa.line ;iie and shall be understood to be 
allowed at the rate and price of donl.le leii, i>, and shall he understood to be allowed to 
pass at the same rate and pavment.* 


(Session commenced March 1st iri!i:i.) 
"An art for selling a post-office in this Proiince. 

Whereas Thomas Neale, Esq., for himself his Execnter, adininstrator i 
has obtained from their most Excelunt Maji'sty full power and anthority by Le 

ling's Stat, at Large, vol. 


under the groat seal of England, bearinjr date tlio scvoiiteentli day uf February. 1091, to 
erect, settle and establish within their saiil M,ijr^i\ > Cnldiiii-. and I'lantatinns in America, 
an Office or Offices for the receiving and di-| m. Inn- ,.1 I, it,i^ ^md I':h ,|u,'tts according to 
direction under such rates and sums of iii'm^ \ a- th, I'lant. r- Ar.tW a:.'r.r to give, and for 
as much as application has been made to the J^icutLuaiit (iuvtruur aud Cuuncill for encourage- 
ment in this affair. Bee it therefore Enacted and ordained by the Lieut. Governor Councill 
and Representatives convened in general assembly. And it is hereby Enacted and ordained 
by the authority of the same, that a Post Office and Officer be henceforth appointed and 
settled in some couvenient Place within the Town if r.n t-i Ili fir receiving and dispatch- 
ing away, according to direction, all Letters and I'.r ,ih ii- tliit -liall be brought thereinto. 
And no per.son or persons whatever shall presume t" . n i x ii i r. mry any Letter or Letters 
for hire but only such as belong to the Post-Office, dniMn^ tl,. I, |.M«,'r and authoritv from the 
afore said Thomas Neale, except such Lett<-i> nf .Mm . Ii:iiit> iumI M;iM. is whirl, >|,all be sent 

by any master of any ship, boat or any uiIm r \i--i II i.t M' n ImimIiz ■ ;mi\ .itli.r ].crson 

employed by them for the cartage of sucli l.cit. i- j|"ir-:ihl :i, , (m iIihl' ti. tin' n^i live di- 
rections, and alsoe precept Letters to be bent by any privatr frirnd or friends in tlieir way 
of Journey or Travel or by any Messenger or Messengers sent uu purpose for or concerning 
the private affairs of any person or persons. 

" And whoever offends against this act .shall forfeit the sum of Ten pounds, one half to 
Maj'ties towards the support of the Government of tliis Province, the other half to 

]>ost Master (ieneral, who shall i 


"And it is hcreliy lurther Enacted by the .\iiiliMiit\ alm.said that all Letters and 
Pac(|uetts brouirht int" this Post from beyond sea ("th. r than -in h Letters as are before ex- 
cepted) shall by the Ini]i.irler be forthwith delivered t.. Ih. I'l.-th.nise ..r t.i tin' Officer 
belonging theniinl... whi.h < )fficer shall pay a half penny 1. 1 ih. Iniiiint.i liH .■nh letter 
or packet so deliv.'r.'.l .and h.r such Letters so brought in iLmi l..\..n.| -hall he pay'd 
by the person t.. \ dii.. i..l Two Pence, and for a Pai|ii.ti.' .|naniiiv n.. I.^e than three 
Letter- h.'si,!..- hill- ,,f l...a.lin-. Invoices, Gazetts, &c., f.M.r I', n. .■. ami each Letter 
broiiL;lit tV..iii l!.i-l..ii 1. 1 till- I'lLMn.'.' init exceeding sixpen.a- an. I .hmhl.' f..r a Pacquette, 
and s.. |.rii|»'i' .'iial.lx ..n I, . a i. a- .m this side Boston, and for all ..tin i- I. .tters from Beyond 
Bo.stun shall he p.iid what Is the aeeustomary allowance in the Uuverm't from whence 
they came. 

" And it is hereby also further Enacted and ordained by the authority afores'd, that 
in case any Officer belonginir to the Post Office shall omitt their duty in keeping constant 
Posts th.' iMi lyini^' .if L'tt. r- f.i th.> -. ■, . i il j.ln .■■ anil -ta;;.- a) .pointed or shall neglect 

seas.inahh an.l faiihl.ilK I.. .l.'lix.T f.iiili 'li I. M . .ii .liiii;- t.. the intent of this act ; 

such ..fti.aa Ih n.lin:;-lL.II ill. - 'I ; imN X.' ..Ill- half to their Majesties, 

.\inl all Letters eoneerning tlieir Majesties service shall be received and di.spached 
away with all possible speed, according to their direction, free of all charge and without de- 
maiiiliiiL' ).ay for the same ; any thing hereinbefore contained to the contrary nothwith- 

• Anil it is forth. 'r Enacted and ordained that the Officer of the Posthouse having Licence 
Grant. .1 t.. K, tad.. Bear, Cider and Ale within d.iors, according to Law, .shall have his 

Excise free and no Officer of the Excise shall demand any thing of him for the same, and 
his person to be excused from watching'aud warding Provided always that this Act nor any 
thins: therein contained sliall continue in force any longer than three years from and after 

" John Usher (Lieut. Governor.) 
"John Billman (Speaker.) 
■' Thomas Davis, Sec'y." 

This attempt to establish a post-office system in the American Colonics was made in 1693 
by Thomas Neale, to whom in various of the colonies a royiil patent for this purpose had 
been is.sued, but his arrangements were very limited and imperfect. The utmost con- 
templated by Neale was a post-office in each county, and his actual operations came far 
short of this.t 


" Act nftlic Lefiishtiire nf the Province of Pentisi/lvatiia, pnsscd in 1093. 

" To and from Philadelphia by the eastern part of New England beyond Boston, nine- 

: (Lewis or Lewiston Del.) Maryland, and Virginia, nine 

"To and from every place within eighty miles of Philadelphia, four pence, halfpenny. 

"All letters belonging to the public, to be received and despatched free of all charges, 
and that the post, pass ferriage free of all ferries, within the town of New Castle and country 
depending, ("The three lower counties in Delaware," as they were called — now state of 
Delaware — are here referred to.)" 

" Provided always that the said Andrew Hamilton shall within three month next ensuing 
prefix certain days of his setting forth and return, and shall continue constant posts to pass 
from Philadelphia to New York, and from Philadelphia to Newcastle."}: 

" Whereas, in the year 1693, a general post-office was by law erected at the request 
of Andrew Hamilton at Philadelphia, by which law a rate was put upon all letters ; And 
whereas the charge of the said office hath much exceeded the postage, and being sensible 
of the benefit of the said office tn trade and commerce, and to tlic Province and Territories 
in general if il br r.miiimi.l, .ind nf great loss that will liapiini tu 1m. th if it should happen 
to fail for want ..f m, ,iiiiai;viuint. Be it therefore,! ^r ' It was directed by the 
act that II an lilt I 111 si Mill I.I laciivr for three years the sum ..f ■•Jil | nils silver money of this 

* Historical Magwir 
t Hist. Mag. HI. I< 
t His Mag. HI. Z-- 

"To the end that mutual eorrespondence may be maintainetl, and that letters may be 
speedily and safely despached from place to place : Be it Enacted, by the authority afore- 
said, That a general post office may be erected by Andrew Hamilton of Phil'a, from whence 
all letters and packets may be with all expedition sent to any of the parts of New England, 
and other adjacent colonies iu these parts of America, at which said office all returns and 
answers may be received. 

"And be it further Enacted, by the authority aforesaid, that it shall be lawful for the 
said Andrew Hamilton, or some other as shall be appointed by the King, to be Postmaster 
General, in these parts, and his deputy or deputies in that office, to demand, receive and 
take, for the postage of all such letters, so by him conveyed, or sent post as aforesaid, ac- 
cording to the several rates hereafter mentioned, and not exceed the several rates here- 
after expressed. 

"All foreign letters from Europe, the West Indies or any parts beyond the seas, two 
pence each single letter, which is to be accounted such although it contain bills of lading, 
invoices, gazettes, &c. ; and for each packet of letters four pence. And if packets or letters 
be at the office uncalled for, the space of forty-eight hours, the postmaster then sending 
them forth to the respective houses, or the persons to whom they are directed, one penny 
more for every such letter. " And for all foreign letters, outward bound, that shall be de- 
livered into the post-office, two pence each letter or packet. " The post of inland letters to 
or from New York to Philadelphia, four pence halfpenny. 

" To or from Philadelphia to Connecticut, 9 pence. 

" To or from Philadelphia to Bhode Island, twelve pence. 

" To and from Philadelphia to Boston, fifteen pence." 

Previous to these enactments a law was passed at Phila., in March, 1683, directing the 
mode in which letters on official business were to be dispatched. It was in the following 
terms : " Whereas the Governor may, en manny occasions, be disapointed of obtaining 
true and speedy information of public affairs, as well from Europe as the neighboring colonies 
and remote parts of this Province and territories thereof. For prevention of all such incon- 
veniences for the future. Be it Enacted, by the authority aforesaid. That every Justice of 
the Peace, Sheriff or Constable within the respective counties of this Province, and terri- 
tories thereof, to whose hands or knowledge any Letter or Letters shall come, directed to 
or from the Governor, shall despatch them, within three hours, at the furthest, after the 
receipt or kiinwlcdjje thereof, to the next Sheriff or Constable, and so forwards, as the Letter 
direct, upnn the pcualty nf twenty shillings for every hour's delay. 

■ Ami ill -IK h I :i-, -, jll .lii-tiiesof the Peace, Sheriffs or Constables are hereby empowered 
to |ii, -- riiln i 111, li r-. fur that Service, allowing for a horse or man, two pence by the 

Ulilr, I" lie I'.llil Mill 111' llli pilhlic Stock." 

II iinili. M, Mil «Im.iii ill, i,u|,t to_ carry the mail under the act? of 169.3 and 1697 was 

(■■■llli 1 1 I 11 ■! j; 170 1, liy a priiiiMii through Patrick Robin.son presented 

ill 111 I 1 , 111 1,1 til. (_i,ii, wlihli liiiil been granted to him, when it was 

unl'i'l I'lii !'■ !■, ■ jiiN tlir -,iiil -mil :i- -,,i,ii :is he shall have sufficient in his 

hami- l-r [],,. -.111, L, 11,,: 1- -lilcJ 111 the, -Cul. Andrew Hamilton, Post Master 
Uni'l III Aininca- and "Gox"' of the Jerseys."* 

» Provincial Minutes, II. Page 32. 

Governor Hamilton's death occurred in 1703 and James Logan, in a letter to William 
Penn, dated Amboy, UOtli, 2d mo. (Sic Original) 1703, thus speaks of it ; "The mournful 
occasion of my being here is the funeral of that worthy gentleman, our Lieut. Governor Hamil- 
ton, ho lay sick of a putrid and hectic fever for about nine weeks, and (was) despached 20 inst. 
in his perfect senses and was interred yesterday in the afternoon. We had advise of it but 
the evening before by the Post and presently in the news. William Trent (after whom 
Trenton N. J. was called,) Thomas Farmer and myself being all who on that short notico 
could get ready (our friends being mostly gone to Salem meeting) hastened away to pay 
this last respect, and came in time to meet the corpse at the Grave, so that now all thy 
late pains for an approbation in his favor are lost and our enemies unhappily gratitifd once 


Colonel John Hamilton of New Jersey and son of Governor Andrew Hamilton, first 
devised the Post Office scheme for British America, for which he obtained a patent and 
the profits accruing. Afterwards he sold it to the crown, and a member of Parliament was 
appointed for the whole with a right to have his substitute reside in New York.* 

Charles Read, in Philadelphia, writing to Jonathan Dickinson, in Jamaica, New Jersey, 
August 17, 1703, says, " The death of our Governor Hamilton has broken all our measures, 
I doubt we shall not be so happy in another, he being an affable, moderate man and, as far 
as I could observe free from that avaricious humor too predominant amongst us." 

These extracts are from the valuable " Logan Manuscripts" in the possession of the 
American Philosophical Society. One of the measures referred to in this letter, was the 
plan to effect a union in legislation between the Province and Territories, and Proud thus 
refers to the circumstance ; " For they had not accepted the new charter ; and they had 
three years allowed them to signify their refusal. For this purpose Hamilton labored much 
with them and used manny arguments to induce them to unite, but without success." 

The office of postmaster-general for America had been created in 1692. The rates of 
postage were, for eighty miles or under 4i pence. From New York to Philadelphia 9 pence. 
To Virginia 12 pence. For a long time tlic ix|iriiM-, i,f the office exceeded the income 
Until after 1704 there was no regular post luiilirr ni-l than Boston, or further west than 
Philadelphia. In that year Lord Cornbury »iiiiim in ilic government at home says. "If 
I have any letter to send to either Virginia ur .M:iryhuid, I must either send an express, 
who is often retarded for want of boats to cross those great rivers they must go over, or 
else for want of horses ; or else I must send them by some passengers who are going thither. 
The least I have known any express to take hence to Virginia has been three weeks." 

Shi.rtly after the d:ilc' nf this l.-tt.r, >l;i-r-ruM.Iir> Kwr .•>t:ibli>Iir.l iMtw.Tii Boston 
and Nrw Vorkaiid ]!nM,,„ mnl ri.ihMlM|.|,i:i , I. HI nn |,n>i,,llir,. tta> r.|.,lil,-hr,l in Virgjnia 

In rhiludclphia the ,.1,1 CIl,-, -I l,,iis,' msI,mi, i,r,v;,il.,l lur iiiMny y:ii> In \irginia, 
the mail-bag was passed along from planter to planter ; each being rei|uir,'d l,y law (passed 

» Watson's Annals of Phila. Vol. 2. p. 30 1. 


in 1757) to send a messenger with it to his next neighbor, under penalty as before mentioned 
of a hogshead of tobacco. Every man took out of the bag his own letters and sent on the 

In 1692 as has been seen, the office of postmaster general for North America was 
created, but as late as 1704 no post-rider went further North than Boston, and no further 
South than Charleston. And even twenty years afterwards there was no post into the in- 
terior of the Country. 

In 1710 a General Post Office was established in London for all the Bntish Dominions 
under one director called a postmaster-general, who had letter-offices at Edinburg, Dublin, 
New York and other convenient places ; the Deputy-postmaster general for the colonies 
was to reside in New York. 

Tho following is that portion of the Act of 1710 and of that of 1. Geo. Ill, relating to the 

First Act of Faiiiamcnt coiisolidalhm (lie Post Office in Great Britain and her Colonies, 
WiAnne. 1710. 

" And to the end that a general post office may be e.stablished for and throughout Her 
Majesty's Kingdom &c. and Colonies, in such manner as shall prove most beneficial to tho 
People &c. be it enacted by Parliament that from and after the first day of June, 1711, 
there be one general P. 0. for Great Kritain, Ireland, N. Amer. West Indies &c. One 

Master appointed from time to time l.v ilir ( ,!■ n, l.y Letters Patent — Name— Her Majesty's 

Post Master General, allowed to kr.']i .m,. ( 'liirf jjotter Office in New York, and other chief 
offices in each of the Colonies of N , .\iiHr, llr lias the power to appoint Deputies or sub- 
stitutes and no other persons are permitted to ]ireparc or provide Horses and Furniture to 
let to any other person than the above. 

Postage as follows : 
To or from N. Y, to any place within tiO Eng. miles— Single 1 4 pence. 
Double [^ 8 pence. 
Treble ( one shilling. 
Ounce J one shilling, 4pence. 
not exceeding 100 Eng. miles, 6 pen. 1 sh., 1 sh. & 6 pen., 2 sh. 
From Perth \nibov (Jersey) to any place not exceeding 60 Eng. miles 4 p., 8 p., 1 s., 1 sh. &4 p 
.. '. " •• ■■ 100Eng.miles6p.,lsh., lsh.&6p.,2sh. 

■■ N. Y. to New Lond. (Connt) & Philad'a 9 p., 1 sh. & 6 p., 2 sh. & 3 p., 3 sh. 
" Phil'a to place not exceeding 60 Eng. miles 4 p., 8 p., 1 sh., 1 sh. & 4 p. 
.. •• 100 " " 6 p., 1 sh., 1 sh. & 6 p., 2 sh. 

" N. Y. to any place in K. I., Mass., N. Ilamp., Maryland 1 sh., 2 sh., 3 sh.. 4 sh. 
" abiive to any place not exceeding 60 miles, 4 p., 8 p., 1 sh., 1 sh. & 4 p. 

" 100 " 6 p., 1 sh., 1 sh. 6 p., 2 sh. 

" N. Y. to Salem (Mass.) and to Virginia— 1 .sh. 3 p., 2 sh. & 6 p., 3 sh, & 9 p., 5 sh. 

4 p., 8 p., 1 sh., 1 sh. k 4 1 
6 p., 1 sh., 1 sh. & p., 2 sh. 

From N. Y. to Charles Town (South Carol.)— 1 sh. & G p., 3 sh., 4 sh. & 6 p., 6 sh. 
" above, not exceeding 60 miles, 4 p. 8 p., 1 sh., 1 sh. & 4 p. 
100 " 6 p., 1 sh., 1 sh. & G p., 2 sh. 
All Deputys or Agents, when riding Post, are to be allowed to cross and recro.s.s all 
Ferries without any charge being made. All Ferrymen to pass all agents of the P. 0. 
within a half-hour after demand is made, or forfeit £5* 

" A/i An to alter certain Rates of Postage," if-c, cstcdjiishcdiii the Reign of Queen Ann 

This act goes into effect Oct. 10th 1765 and is in substance (for the colonies) as 
follows ; 

Letters from or to London from any port in Brit. Am. 1 sh., 2 sh., 3 sh., 4 sh. 

From any Port, by sea, to any other port, in Brit. Am. 4 pence, 8 pence, 1 sh., 1 sh. 4 p. 

PV inland conveyance — 60 Brit, miles — 4 p., 8 p., 1 sh., 1 sh. 4 p. 
" " ''■ 100 " •■ 6 p., 1 sh., 1 sh. 6 p., 2 sh. 

" " " 200 " " 8 p., 1 sh. 4 p., 2 sh., 2 sh. 8 p. 

" " more than 200 Brit, miles, for every 100 miles 2 p., 4 p., 6 p. 8 p. 

All letters brought by passengers of vessels, or others, are to be delivered to the P. O. 
for distribution by the Deputies ; under a penalty of £b. 

No vessel is allowed to break bulk, until all letters are delivered to the proper 

Certain persons are to be appointed to survey and measure distances on the Post 
Roads; tobe recorded in books, copies of which are to be left deposited in all the chief 
P. Offices in the Colonies.! 


In Dec. 1716 Jonathan Dickinson writes to his correspondent, saying, " We have a 
settled post from Virginia to Maryland unto us, and goes through all our Northern Colonies, 
whereby advices from Boston to Williamsburg in Virginia is completed in four weeks, from 
March to December, and in double that time in the other months of the year." % 

A. SpoTswooD TO GovR. OX PosT Office, 1730. 

Gernianna Jul)/ ye Zlst 1730. 
Sir ; — 

I am now sending the bearer, Mr. William P.ussell, to transact and prepare JIatters, 
for setling a regular Post Correspondence, which may reach so far Southward as through 
the Colony of Virginia, I take ocassion to Notify to your Honour my being charged with the 

* Stat, at Large 9. Anne. 1710. 

■f- Eng. Rev. Stat. vol. 7. p. 503. I. Geo. III. 

IWatson'sAnnalsotPhila. vol. zp. 39,. 

Care and Conduct of His Majosty's Pust \Yitliin your Government, as well as through all ye 
Provinces on ye Continent oif North Aiiipri.a and Islands in ye West Indies ; and as I can- 
not doubt of your good disposition t.. ('(.iiniriiaiicc an undertaking which is entirely cal- 
culated to benefit Trade, and promcir 111- .Miijc-ty's Revenue, I rest assured that the Post 
Officers will under your Aduiinisiraticm im it with all needful Protection, which must en- 
gage me to lay hold on every occtisiou tu testify that I am 

Sir, Your Honour's 
Most Obedient Humble Servant, 
A. Spotswood. 
The Hon'ble Goven'r Gordon.* 

The foregoing laws, documents and citations will have shown the condition of Postal 
communication in this country to the year ITlll. 

For forty years after the passage of th.' Art ..f Qucmi Anne there was very little per- 
ceptible improvement. The post-roads were -.ii. i;ill\ in )iad condition, the riders, although 
then perfectly loyal, were not trustworthy, :iiiil tlir i-oMmasters probably not much better. 
The following experience is illustrative of thi> |i"iiit, \\ hen Benjamin Franklin printed the 
" Pennsylvania Gazette" in 1730, Andrew Bradford printed the " Mercury ;" the two were 
naturally opposed to each other, and in particular in their efforts to obtain the advertising 
patronage of the vicinity ; now Bradford being Postmaster, used his influence to exclude 
the " Gazette" from the mails, and with some success, the public supposing from not seeing 
Franklin's paper so frequently as the " Mercury" that the latter was the best advertising 
medium, and acting accordingly. Franklin did, however, both send and receive papers by 
the post, but he did it by bribing the riders. Bradford's conduct in forbidding the riders 
to carry the "Gazette,'"' excited^ the disgust of Franklin. "I thought so meanly of the 
practice," he says, " that when I afterwards came into bis situation I took care never to 
imitate it.t 

The Post-mastership and newspaper-printing were commonly united in our early history. 

Thus in 1719, one Xibn ('an]|ili(ll, pi.stiii.istcr of Boston, who published the "News 
Letter," was turned out nf hi- |H.-iiioii a- |i.i.tiiiMsi.T ; but, feeling aggrieved at his removal, 
he would not dispose of hi- ji ipri , ,iii,| hi- -n, rcssor in office, William Brocker, started a 
paper of his own, called th.' ■ K.i-inn ilaz. tt.>. hciiig advised ,so to do by the merchants 
of Boston, who stated that they had " been /"- " ///,,/ tVom haviiiL' their newspaper sent them 
by the Post ever since Mr. Campbell was r.iooir.l fr hrin^' jin-liuaster. 

But Brocker had been appointed by th. |,n-tiiia-tir, and when he had been 
but a few months in office, news came out trom Kugland that the postmaster-general had 
appointed to the position one Philip Masgrave. As the central office was of course the 
authority, Masgrave took the office, and bought from Brocker his newspaper. Now Brocker's 
paper had been printed by James Franklin, by whom Benjamin Franklin was employed ; 
but Masgrave choosing to employ another printer, Mr. Franklin's resentment was kindled, 
and in spite of the advice of his friends, he started a third newspaper called the " New 
England Courant," for which Benjamin set type, wrote poetical contributions and acted as 


carrier. Thus the appointment of a now postmaster was the cause of startinc two news- 
papers in the city of Boston, while it brought about Benjamin Franklin's first conflict with 

No man in America was so identified with the earliest and latest interests of the 
Colonial Post Office as Benjamin Franklin. 

In 1737, when he held the position of Clerk of the Pennsylvania Assembly, he received 
the appointment of Postmaster of Philadelphia; and as he was then publishing 'his " Gazette" 
he possessed opportunities for obtaining news and distributing his paper, which gave him 
advantage over all other printers and editors. 

In 1727 the Mail to Annapolis is opened, this year to go once a fortnight in summer 
and once a month in winter, via New Castle &c., to the Western shore and back to the 
Eastern shore ; managed by William Bradford in Philadelphia, and by 'William Parks in 

"In 1738 Henry Pratt is made riding-postmaster for all the stages between Phila. 
and Newport in Virginia ; to set out in the beginning of each nicnith and to return in twenty- 
four days. To him all merchants &e. may confide their letters and other luisiness, he having 
given security to the postmaster general. 

" In 1745 John Dalley surveyor states that he has just made a survey of the road from 
Trenton to Amboy, and has set up marks at every two miles to guide the traveller. It 
was done by private subscriptions, and he proposes to do the whole road from Phila. to 
New York in the same way if a sum can be made up." 

" In 1748 when Professor Kalm arrived at Phila. from London, many of the inliabitants 
came on board his vessel for letters. Such as were not called for were taken to the cofTee- 
house, where everybody could make inquiry for them." Thus showing that the jiost-office 
did not yet claim a right to their distribution. 

Such was the condition of things, when in 1753, by appointment of the Post Master 
General, Benjamin Franklin and W" Hunter were commissioned to succeed the Deputy 
postmaster general for the Colonies, just deceased. 

They were allowed £300 a year each, provided they could make the office yield that 
amount of profit. 

During that Summer (1753) Franklin with his accustomed energy, proceeded to 
systematize and arrange the department, and to that i iid set out on a tour of inspection, 
and visited every post-office in the country e.xn ],i •<{ Charleston, S. C. 

In 1753, the delivery of letters by the ]iciiiiv |"i>l was first begun. At the same time 
began the practice of advertising remaiuing letters in tlie office. The letters for all the 

* Watson's Annals of Phil.i. vol. II. p. 391. 


....j,„ ^ weut to Philadelphia, and lay there till called for— thus, letters for 

Newtowu, Bristol, Chester, New Castle, &c., are to be called for iu Philadelphia* 

III 1754 Franklin gave notice that the mail to New England which used to start but 
once a fortnight in winter, should start once a week all the year, whereby answers might 
be obtained to letters between Phil'a and Boston, in three weeks, which used to require six 
weeks I" 

After four years of Franklin's rule the Post OfiBce yielded the salary of the postmasters, 
and a small revenue besides, and iu 1774 a clear annual revenue of £3000 to Great Britain. 

As an illustration of the way in which post-ofEces were attended in those days we may 
refer to Franklin, who writes in i7.'i7, "•.Mr ( 'nidi ii (postmaster at New York) could not spare 
his daughter, as she hol]is liim in tlir p,isi nllirr, he having no clerk." 

The first vear's e.'ipn iiiimt Inou-ln li,,)ikliii iu debt £900, yet he refers with great 
satisfiction to 'his in,l,n- llic mails, 

■In IT.i^ ihu-|.:i|iri > whii li lit', 1. time were carried post free per mail, will, by the 
rea.siMi nt ilnii ^r. at im n a>r. In- rliaiiL'ril thereafter to the small price of 9d. per year, for 
fifty Uiilis. anil 1- r„l till Iiiin.liiil miles. This was, most probably, the private emolu- 
ment of the rider; the iiapi- tin i„-i U. ~ |iriil,, mil having been mailed at all." 

The following lettei tlmm. - l.-ht .,u "in nt' I'lanklin's efforts to make the Post 

Ofiice a convenience : W i-liin^niii » a- at iL. tiim Cnnnnander in Chief of the Virginia 
forces, raised to protect the tmntiet ~ frnm llie Imlians and French. His headquarters were 
at Winchester. Franklin in his capacity of Deputy Postmaster, or rather the postmaster- 
general for the Colonies had the year, previous, during Braddock's march, arranged a post 
between Philadelphia and Winchester, in consequence of a vote of the Pennsylvania 

To Gkorge Washington. 
Coni-ri/iiticr nfllw ihiU for the Accomodation of the Army. 

Philadelphia, 19 August 1756. 

I have your favors of July 23d and August 3d, but that you mention to have wrote by 
Mr. Balfour'is not come to hand. I forwarded the packet enclosed in that of July iSd as 
direpted, and shall readily take charge of any other letters from you, that pass through my 

The post, between this place and Winchester, was established for the accommodation 
of the tirmy chiefly, by a vote of our Assembly. 

They are not willing to continue the charge, and it must, I believe, be dropped, unless 
y.iur As.sembly and that of Maryland will contiuue to support, it, which, perhaps is scarce 

I am snriy it should be laid down, as I shall myself be a loser in the alfair of News- 
papers. (.Vt this time Franklin printed and published a Newspaper iu Philadelphia.) But 
the letters per post by no means defray the expense. If you can prevail with your Assembly 

to pay the rider from Wiuchester to Carlisle. I will endeavour to persuade ours to con- 
tinue to pay the rider from Carlisle hither. My agreement with the house was, to carry 
all public dispatches gratis, to keep account of postage received for private letters, and 
charge the expense of riders and oflScers ; and they were to pay the balance. I am, Sir, 
with great esteem and respect, &e., 

B. Franklin."* 

In 1756 " British Pacquet Boats are first announced between New York and Fal- 
mouth, the postage of each single letter to be four pennyweights of silver. In 1705 a 
second line of stages is set up for New York, to start twice a week, using three days 
in going through, at 2 pence a mile. It was a covered Jersey, without springs, and had 
four owners concerned." t 

The following letter shows the Interest that was beginning to be aroused in the 
home government, iu postal communication ; international and intercolonial. 

Dunn Halifax to Gov. Penn. 

St. James, August 11th 1764. 
SiK ; 

It being of great importance and advantage to His Majesty's Service, and to the Com- 
mercial interest and General Convenience of His Majesty's Subjects in North America, 
that the Conveyance of Letters, by the Post, should be facilitated and extended throughout 
the Colonies upon that extensive Continent, His Majesty's Post Master General is concert- 
ing measures for those purposes, and as it cannot be doubted but the Legislatures of the 
several Colonies will readily and cheerfully contribute to the smicss nt'a Plan, from which 

they may expect to derive the Benefit of a regular, safe and s| ly ('unt'>|iondence, I am 

commanded to signify to you His Majesty's Pleasure, that you slioiild iiiuinnieiid it to the 
Assembly of the Colony under your Government to provide for the E.stablishmeut of Ferries 
and erecting proper Buildings on the water side, wherever the same may be found neces- 
sary, that the Posts may meet with no Delays or Interruptions in passing. 

His Majesty's Post Master General having also represented that a Map of the Province 
under your Government, with the present course of the Po.sts tlimiighout the same clearly 
marked out, would be of great use to him in the iin.l ■ii:ikiiii;, I am to desire that 
you will procure and transmit such a Map, together wiili ;i .^tatr of such alterations as you 
apprehend to be wanting for the better Regulation ami I iii|.ru\ niiint uf the said Posts ; and 
you will give your constant Aid and Support to the I'.i-i .Ma-ic !■> within your Government, 
in the Execution of their office, which is so immediatrly .Ml.iihit.^l fur the publick Benefit. 
I am with great Truth and KrLiJi'l, 

Sir, your nln-ilieiit Humble Servant, 
Directed: Dinn Halifax. 
Penn, E.-^qr., Lieut. Govcnor of Pensilvania. ^ 

* Spark's Life and Writings of Franlijin, vol VII. pp i:i, iii. 

J Penn'a Archives vol. IV. p. 202. 

On the 8th of November 1764 Franklin sailed fur England, his third voyage ; remaining 
abroad until 1775. His prolonged absence from his post, was made the excuse for an effort 
on the part of his enemies to oompass his discharge from his ofiBcial position, even as early 
as 1768, the real reason being as he believed, his " being too much of an American." It was 
then the practice to allow thi> Tinn-n'sidfiicc n{ American officers, provided care was taken 
that their business was ■Inn.' liv |ii|.niv "i- '.tli.'i-wise. 

This affair blew uvn , Imt in 177 1 I'lniklin having made himself numerous enemies by 
the circulation of the " lluirhiiiMin ( i.i > r,|„,iuli'i]ct'." was cited before the Committee of the 
Privy Council, and examined in r. f, im, ,■ tn ili.- I'rtiiinn of the Assembly of JUassachusetts 
for the removal of Governor Hulrliin-un, ami aUn in i. hition to the letters, whose publicity 
had been the immediate cause of tin ^ art am. |im mir t«(, separate sessions of the Committee, 
Franklin was baited and badgered li_v tlnir Cmnxl, nntil the decision was finally rendered 
against granting the Petition. 

On the following day, January 31st 1774, Franklin received his dismissal from the office 
of Deputy Postmaster General in America. 

Franklin vmainml in KnL'biiid nntil after the meeting of the Continental Congress, and 
arrived in Pill! i' 'i ':'- ^]- ."ah I77.V 

Thefocliii. I i^aiii^t his persecutors was unbounded. It was said truly 

that the disnii-- n "! I h I i laiiin ti \[i> jiosition was equivalent to a seizure of the American 

Post-Oflice ; that only crcatinas nt ili,- ^Iiiii>try were to be appointed Post Masters; and 
that it was no longer safe to tin-t tin 1, itns of patriotic Americans to the Mails. So 
generally were private arrangcnn iii> mail, carrying letters, that the American Post 
Office never again contributed a favtliin^' tu tim British Treasury.* 

The following quotations will exhibit what was doing in postal matters at the period 
we have just been con.sidering. 


It is voted and resolved, that this General Assembly will join with the other colonies 
in ostalilisliing post offices and post riders, in order to preserve an intercourse between the 
diffrnnt'v, wlii.-h will ].rove so beneficial to the public, as well as to individuals; 
a\nl til ii ill!- . ..|..n\ will, the present, defray the expense of post riders throughout this 

it i> tiMiii. I \..t. .1 anil resolved, that post offices bo, and hereby are, established at the 
folliinin- I'll. ... t.i wit; at Newport, Providence, Bristol, Warren, Tower Hill, in South 
Klni;>t.iwii aii'l Wi'-terly; and that the following persons be, and hereby are, appointed 

For .\i.w}ii.rt, .Mr. Nathaniel Otis : Providence, Mr. John Carter ; Bristol, Mr. Jonathan 
Kussell; Warren, Mr. Shubarl Burr; Tnwrr Hill. Mr Kay Sands ; Westerlv, Mr. Jo.shua 
Babcock. • 

It is further voted and resi.lvial, that the rates ami duties for postage of letters, be as 
follows, to wit : 

* Spayks' Life and Writings of Franklin vol. VII. p 405, Parton's Life of Franklin vol. I, pp. 594 et. scq. 


Rates of Postage in the Coloinj rif Rhode Island. ^ ^j^ ^ 

For any distance not exceeding sixty miles 51-4. 

" sixty miles and not exceeding one hundred miles -^ 8. 

" one hundred miles, and not exceeding two hundred miles 10 1-4. 

" two ■' " " " " three " " 1 1. 

" three ' four " " 1 4. 

" four " " five " " 1 6 1-4. 

" five " ■' ■■ " ■■ six " " 1 9. 

" six " " ' seven " " 2 0. 

" seven " ei.^ht " " 2 21-2 

" eight nine " " 2 5. 

" nine " " " " " one thousand " 2 8. 

The above rates to be paid in lawful money, of this colony, and are for the postage of 
a single letter. They are to be doubled for all double letters, trebled for all treble letters ; 
and for every ounce weight, four times so much is to be charged as for a single letter. 

It is further voted and resolved, that Mr Peter Mumford be, and he is hereby, appointed 
the post rider from Newport to Providence ; and Mr Benjamin Mumford the post rider from 
Newport to New London ; and that they neither receive nor deliver any letters from any 
post office heretofore established in this colony. 

It is further voted and resolved, that Messrs. Joshua Babcock, John Jenckes, William 
Bradford, and Joseph Anthony, be, and they are hereby, appointed a committee, to agree 
with the masters and post riders, for their service ; and to give directions for the setting 
off and returns of the post riders ; and that the post masters account to the said committee 
for what they shall receive. 

It is further voted and resolved, that all letters which the post rider for the time being, 
may receive, directed for the town of Boston shall be first post paid and submitted to the 
examination of the Commander in Chief of the American forces at Cambridge or of a com- 
mittee that may be appointed by the Provincial Congress of the Massachusetts Bay, before 
they are permitted to go to Boston and that all letters coming out of Boston be submitted 
to the like examination. 

And it is further voted and resolved that this act shall continue in force until this Assem- 
bly shall make some further order relative to the same.* 

Post Riding in 1775. 
The following notices are from the "New England Chronicle and Essex Gazette" for 
May 25, 1775 : " Silent Wilde News Carrier to Northampton, Deerfield &c., notifies his 
customers that the first six months of his present year's service ends with the Eighth Day 
of May instant. He desires them to remember that on the account there will be due to him 
from each One Dollar and One Quarter or Seven Shillings and Si$ Pence, and he very 
earnestly prays that every one would remember the day and be punctual, that so he may be 
able to continue the same. Said Wilde also takes the present opportunity to entreat those 
who are in arrears for last year kindly to consider that it would be a great favour if each 

* R. I. Colonial Records, vol. VII. pp. 35J, 52. 


individual would pay him immediately their respective balances, for hereby he would be 
furnished with 815U, a considerable part of which is due to the printers, who have cause of 
uneaseiness that they have not before now received what is severally due to them. Said 
Wilde now determines to ride through Boston, Lancaster, &c., as usual, beginning next 

"Nathan Bushnell, Jr. (Constitutional Post) proposes to carry letters, &c., to the camp 
at Roxbury and Cambridge, and as often as practicable to Boston, leaving the printing office 
in New London at 7 o'clock, Thursday evening, Norwich at 9 o'clock Friday mornings; and 
to leave the camps at 9 o'clock Monday mornings, return the same road, and arrive at New 
London on Wednesday evenings.*" 

This closes my collection of citations having reference to the history of the Colonial 
Post Office. The same year (1775), the Congress of the Confederation, having assumed 
the practical direction of affiiirs, appointed a committee to devise a system of Post Office 
Communication, which committee made a report on the 2Gth of July, recommending a 
plan, which, on the same day was adopted, and Dr. Franklin unanimously appointed Post- 
master General, at a salary of 81,000 per annum. 

A few words in relation to Hugh Finlay. It will be remembered that in 1768, the 
eSoit was made to displace Franklin from the Colonial Postmaster Generalship ; in Decem- 
ber, 1772, Franklin procured and sent to Massachusetts the Hutchinson Correspondence, 
■which action on his part was the cause of his ultimate removal. In the same month, De- 
cember, 1772, Hugh Finlay was appointed Surveyor of Post Offices and Post Koads on the 
Continent of North America, but did not sail from England until the following March. 

On the 31st of January, 1774, Franklin was di.smi.ssed from his office, and on the 25th 
of February succeeding, his place was filled as follows : 

"February 25th, 1774, [appointments]. 

Hugh Finlay, Esq., Deputy Postmaster General in North America, in the room of Dr. 
Franklin removed."* 

In a letter written in London, "4 February 1772- t., Mr. John Foxcroft, Resident 
Deputy Postmaster General in America, Dr. Franklin refcr.s to the fact of his having "be- 
come a little obnoxious to the Ministry "J 

Hist. Mag. vol. IV p 17. 
t Annual Register, vol. XVII., 1774, p 84. 
+ Sparlis- Fr.inl<lin, vol. VllI , p ;. 

This Foxcroft, whom Franklin addresses as " Dear Friend," is constantly referred to in 
"Finlay's Journal," as in authority over him, and the one from whom he received his 
directions. He is mentioned in " SaUiic's American Loyalists,"* as follows: "Foxcroft, 
John. One of the two postmasters general of the crown in the thirteen colonies ; and was 
nominally in office in the year 1782, and probably until the close of the contest. After 
Galloway retired to England he became a correspondent." 

FiNLAY is also mentioned in the same work, {SalAne.)\ " Findley, Hugh. He and 
John Foxcroft were the two Postmasters-general of the thirteen colonies, and were con- 
tinued at the head of that department until 1782, certainly, and probably until the peace." 

It would have seemed natural and proper in sending Mr. Finlay on so important a 
mission as the survey of the whole postal communication of the Colonies, that some confer- 
ence should have been held with Dr. Franklin on the subject. Holding the highest office 
in the department, and thoroughly acquainted with the whole subject, and present in 
England, I can yet find no reference to his having any knowledge of this survey whatsoever. 

Neither does Hugh Finlay in his "Journal" mention him by name anywhere, or so 
much as allude to any other authority than Mr. Foxcroft. 

Unable to reconcile this conflict of fact with probability, I am forced to the conclusion 
that the sending of Finlay to America was the preliminary step in the determined and 
afterwards successful effort to deprive Franklin of his position, which the emissary after- 
wards received as the reward for his services. 

Whether the forwarding of the Hutchinson ('(irrcsiiondrncc to Ma.^sachusett.s by 
Franklin was known to the British Ministry in Deccuiber, it i.s iuipo.'^sible for lue to learn, 
but certainly ample time had elapsed prior to the actual departure of Finlay in March, for 
that fact to have come to their knowledge. 

The remarks of Finlay throughout bis "Journal," his frequent reference to the ill- 
feeling existing towards Great Britain, his criticism of the conduct of post-office business, 
of the fidelity of postmasters and loyalty of riders, are all so many reflections upon Frank- 
lin ; the most prominent being the utter igncuiiig of his name and relation to the depart- 
ment. FiNLAv'.s Journal ends abruptly on the 'iltli of May, 1774, instead of on the 20tli 
of June, as its title-page states ; this being the page of the I k in which it is written 

* Page 294. f Page 185. 


it is likely that boing copied from note-books, the balance for soiiie reason remained 
uncopied, as there could not have been sufficient in the short space of thirty-three days to 
have filled another volume ; just about this period Finlay must have received his appoint- 

It has seemed to me that Finlay's Journal might do something towards elucidating 
the secret history of Franklin's dismissal from office. 

The apparent connection between the circulation of the Hutchinson Correspondence ; 
the special survey of the Colonial Post-Office Department ; the deposition of Franklin, and 
the installation in his place of the man appointed to make the examination, appear to me 
to mean something more than a mere coincidence. 

I have made these deductions with the desire that some one better able than I, should 
investigate the subject, and if there be any truth in the supposition substantiate it, or if not, 
expose its incorrectness. If by these few notes and selections I shall have added anything 
to the interest of this curious Journal, I shall feel sufficiently gratified, even if I have not 
increased our knowledge of American history. 

Frank II. Xorton, 


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In December 1772, the Right Honorable Francis Baron Le Despencer, 
and the Right Honorable Henry Fredrick Thynne, His Majesty's Post 
Master General, appointed me to be, Surveyor of Post roads on the 
Continent of North America; in the month of March following, I was 
commanded to embark for New York, to be instrufted in my duty as 
Surveyor by the resident Deputy General there. 

I arrived at New York in April ; Mr Foxcroft was then in Virginia : 
without waiting his return I proceeded to Canada in consequence of leave 
obtained in England, and arrived at Quebec on the last of the month. 

During my stay there I received orders from Mr Foxcroft to hold my- 
self in readinefs to enter on service in September by beginning the Survey 
in exploring the uninhabited country between the most Southerly settle- 
ments on the River Chaudiere in Canada, and the most Northerly habita- 
tions on the River ot Kennebek in the (iovernment of Mafsachusets Bay. 

These two Rivers are supposed to take their rise on the height of land 
between those two Provinces, the first emptys itself into the River St. 
Lawrence six miles above Quebec and the other tails into the Atlantic 
ocean a little to the Eastward of Casco Bay. 

I had formerly represented to Mr Foxcroft, that the Post route by 
Lake Champlain was tedious and subjeft to retardments ; in summer 

2 Journal kept 

from contrary winds, and every fall and spring, when it begins to freeze, 
and at the breaking up of the ice, it is absolutely impafsable ; it is never 
good above a month in winter. 

That, The mercantile body had often made complaint of the inconve- 
niencys arising from the unavoidable detentions of the New York, mails. 

That, It had been pointed out that shorter routes unobstruded by 
Lakes or large Rivers, might be opened ; the way by the Chaudiere and 
Kennebek Rivers down to Falmouth in Casco Bav was represented as 
short and easy. 

These representations were attended to by Mr Foxcroft, and in conse- 
quence, he sent me orders to examine the proposed route. 

I communicated the order received, to the Lieut. Governor, Hector 
Theophilus Cramahe Esqr. who generously promised every aid and all the 
afsistance in his power, to carry this desir'd projeft into execution : and 
as money was necefsary to defray the expence of the intended Survey, he 
put his name to a subscription paper presented to him, and contributed 
liberally ; his good example was follow'd by the Gentlemen of the Coun- 
cil, and in a spirited manner by the Gentlemen of the City — in twenty 
four hours, more than a sufficiency was raised. 

Four Indians perfeftly well acquainted with all the different pafses, 
were deemed a number sufficient to condudl me and carry the necefsary 
provisions : four of the most expert were accordingly engaged, with an 
interpreter of the Abenaqui language to meet me on the 15th Sep. at the 
last settlement on the banks of the Chaudiere, and from thence to 
condud; me by the shortest way, to the nearest settlements on the river 
Kennebek in New England. 

They declar'd themselves able to do this, as these countrys were per- 

BY Hugh Finlay. 3 

feftly well known to them, having been bred in those woods, which they 
had yearly traversed from their infancy. 

They proposed to mark (as they shou'd pafs along, in their rough way) 
the path by which a good road might be cut. — Now from their sketches 
and remarks, and my own observations, the nature of the country will be 
known, and the prafticability of opening a communication to our Kenne- 
bek neighbours shown. 

On the 13th of September I crofs'd the river St. Lawrence, and pro- 
ceeded to the last farm on the river Chaudiere, 52 miles S. Easterly of 
Quebec, and there met my Indians according to appointment the 15th; 
the road is pafsable in carriages : the greatest part of it is good, and the 
inhabitants are dayly making it better. 

The country all along is very pleasant excepting about twelve miles 
froiTi the river Echemin (etroit chemin) to the Chaudiere, the country is 
poor and marshy, without settlements. The river here is a hundred yards 
wide, a smooth clear gentle stream with a pebly bottom. The reaches in 
this river are long between rapid and rapid, but navigable for batteaus 
only ; when the snow melts on the mountains in Spring, the little runs in 
the high lands are swell'd to torrents, which are empty'd into the Chau- 
diere: it overflows its banks from this supply, and the present road is at 
that season overflowed. A little way back from the river the lands rise 
into fine little hills profusely clad with beautiful trees. This part of the 
country settles fast. 

Capt. Neilson and Lieut. Harrison being desirous to accompany me on 
the expedition, hired two Indians to afsist their servant. 

On the 15th our little party, eleven in number, embarked in three birch 
canoes, with twenty days allowance of pork, flower and bisket, depending 

on our fusils and fish hooks for delicacys. We took, our departure from 
the last house on the Chaudiere and proceeded three miles to the Rapide 
du Diable, a strong current so named by the Canadians. 

The Indians, one at the head and the other at the stern of these crank 
skifs, stood upright and set them up the stream with poles. Our canoes 
drew about five inches water, in some places ot this rapid there was not 
more than eight ; in spite of all pofsible care the bottoms of our canoes 
rub'd against large stones that lay here and there under water, and these 
tender barks are render'd leaky by the slightest touch when under way : 
we were forced to go on shore and unload them, make a fire to drv them, 
then we pitched the rub'd parts ; this took up about half an hour ; the 
Indians are very expert in their own matters. We launched our canoes 
again into the water, and continued setting against a strong current 7 miles 
to the river called La Famine; at the mouth of this river we found two 
huts inhabited by two familys employ'd in clearing lands : the soil is rich 
here, and the wheat it produces is plump and heavy : these Canadians re- 
gal'd us with green ears of Indian corn roasted, and bak'd pompions and 
milk ; we pafsed the night on straw spread on the ground. 

The turnings and windings of the river were various, from S. E. to S. 
by W. This is the last settlement in Canada this way. 

I 6th. — Embarked early, setting up the Chaudiere four miles to the River 
des Loups, course S. E. bv S. : the river takes a turn here to the S. S. \V. 
We leave it to the right, and follow the River des Loups, bv the banks of 
which is the best way to carry a road, being in a direftion free from lakes, 
marshes or mountains ; all these obstruftions are to be met with in carry- 
ing a road by the Chaudiere. 

BY Hugh Finlav. 5 

By the Indian sketch of the country, the Chaudiere route appear'd the 
shortest, but much intercepted by ponds, swamps, marshes and mountains, 
and the report of the guides confirm'd it. 

It is impofsible to guefs distances from an Indian draft; that people 
have no idea of proportion. 

The River des Loups is about 40 yards wide at its mouth, is exceeding 
shallow, roclcy and rapid ; indeed at this season we found it so low, that 
our canoes cou'd not float in many places, and here our fatigue began. We 
were obliged to wade, the Indians bearing the canoes up as much as pofsible 
on the surface, thus carrying them slowly along; bv continuing; long in the 
water, our feet became so beat and tender, that we endur'd much pain in 
treading on the rocks and stones in the river; besides thev were so slip- 
pery that we often tell down. In this disagreeable manner we proceeded 
six miles, and at 5 o'clock in the evening encamped at the foot of a fall 
where the river tumbles over a bed of rocks ten foot high. The banks of 
the river are pretty steep, the courses winding in short reaches from S. K. 
to S. by W. 

We unloaded our canoes, lifted them out of the water, and carried them 
and our provisions, &c., above the fall, made a slow fire, and set the 
canoes to dry at a distance from it; then wc made a Wigwam or hut, of 
branches, open in front; we next made a large fire at a convenient distance; 
the floor of our Wigwam we laid with tender sprigs ot the aromatick Spruce 
tree, which comforts the lungs, and defends the breast from noxious night 
vapours; this makes a soft and agreable bed. After all these matters were 
arranged, we hung our kettle to the fire, and boil'd pork in sufficient quan- 
tity for supper, and to last us all next day untill the evening, when the 
same work is a^ain done. After supper each man wraps himself in his 

6 Journal kept 

blanket, lavs himself down on his spruce bed with his feet to the fire, and 
pafses the night in sound and refreshing sleep. We rise with the sun, 
pitch our canoes, load them, and leave the encampment. We found trout, 
ducks and partridge evervwhere. 

Every night after supper, Mentowermet, our chief guide, drew a sketch 
of the next davs route on a sheet of smooth birch bark with charcoal, 
marking the rivulets, ponds, lakes, marshes, ascents and descents, and 
dotted the pafs most proper for a road. These sketches I took off on 
paper, correfting them and laying down the distances as I went along, to 
guide me in protradling the great sketch. He was right in every thing 
but distances ; when any difficulty occur'd, he called a council of the other 
five and they reftify'd matters among them. 

1|55=» All the distances here mentioned are computed. 

17th. — Proceeded a mile to another fall like the first. We carried our 
canoes about thirty yards ; we waded draging and supporting them this 
day as yesterday, and made 11 miles on our way; the river winds often in 
very short turns, deviating in these small windings to the right and left 
from S. E. Our canoes were much damaged by rubing against the rocks; 
they leak'd much to dav- The banks of the river are high, and the lands 
look well ; they are never overflow'd. 

18th. — Showery warm weather, still wading and draging our canoes — the 
river narrows and becomes shallower; it was with much difficulty that we 
got along ; they took in a great deal of water ; we were obliged to make 
frequent halts to stop our leaks, vet in spite of all our care our flower got 
wet. We made 5 miles this day; we encamp'd at the mouth of a large 

Bv Hugh Finlav. -j 

brook which here emptys itself" into the River des Loups that here turns 
off to the S. W. — the brook conies |-Vom the K. a little southerly. The 
turns in the river this last 5 miles were verv short from E. to S. E. We 
encamped earlv on purpose to pack up our provisions, &c., in proper 
packages to be distributed in proporticjnal burthens to each of the partv 
as we were next day to proceed thro' the woods. 

19th. — Three Indians carried each man a canoe — three were loaded with 
pork, flower, kettles and hatchets ; the rest of the party carried fusils, 
powder and shot, paddles, blankets and all our remaining baggage; thus 
we set forward in Indian file keeping a S. by E. diredion, we immediately 
lose the brook, it is on our left. The way is much obstructed by fallen 
trees, large stones and there's some miry places in it; we continued on a 
gentle ascent 1; miles and crofs'd the brook which was to our left, we now 
kept it to the right at a distance still rising gently, except in two or three 
places where it is a little steep; after a walk of three miles from the place 
where we crofs'd the brook, we descend gently half a mile to a lake 
from whence the brook ifsues ; we took nine hours to walk 9 miles. The 
branches of the trees tore and bruised our canoes, the boughs caught our 
packs, and so entangled us that at times we cou'd not disengage ourselves 
tor minutes, we scrambled over, and sometimes crept under fallen trees ; 
tangled shrubs catch'd our feet and threw us down under our burthens : 
we had a most fatiguing march. After refreshing ourselves and mending 
our canoes, we embarked on still transparent water cover'd with bullrushes, 
this led us into a round small lake which narrows and brought us into 
another round bason rather larger, the course over both S. a mile, then 
pafsing a very narrow strait, it suddenly widens into a piece of water three 

8 Journal kept 

miles long and two and a half broad, with a few small islands in it. The 
lands a little way from the water rise gradually to a great highth all around, 
excepting to the S. E. The woods are poor, made up of bad pine, spruce 
and birch. We proceeded the whole length of the lake S. E. by S. it 
narrows all of a sudden at the end, and is filled with rocky little islands 
for a quarter of a mile ; we landed at the left hand corner of the end of 
this strait, took up our burthens as before and march'd thro' the woods 
ascending a little more than a quarter of a mile and walk'd a i a-mile 
farther on a descent to a lake, the course S. E. 

l|^5=sHalf way over this carrying place is the just height of land 
between Canada and New England, consequently the boundary line between 
the Province of Quebec, and Mafsachusets Bay will be a line drawn half 
way between the lake we just left, and this lake; the line wou'd run in a 
N. E. diredfion, the waters of the lake behind us hill at last into the River 
St Lawrence, and the waters of this lake join the river of Penobscot 
which falls into the Atlantic Ocean. 

On this highth the roads shou'd join. We are here 98 miles distant 
from Ouebec, and 46 from the last house on the river Chaudiere. We 
encamped on the bank of this lake which is in New England. 

;oth. — Embarked on the lake and steered E. S. E. half a mile to an 
island, and there the lake takes a turn to the S. W. ; then we open a re- 
markable high mountain bearing S. — we steer S. W. 2 miles to the end of 
the lake where it contrafts and falls over a bed of rocks in a torrent of 20 
yards broad, we lett it to the right, and walked half a mile S. E. bv S. to 
a little lake i ot a mile over which we cross'd S. E. bv S. ; then we took 
up our canoes and packs and walk'd S. by E. about 5 miles over bare 

Bv Hugh Finlav. 9 

roots of trees, so interlaced and twisted that they resemble the skin of a 
corded melon. From the last lake there ifsues a rivulet which we keep to 
the right for three miles, then we crofs it, and it runs to the left of us 
but out of sight, until it falls into the river Penobscot where we join it. 

Penobscot where we enter it is about thirty yds broad, and it encreases 
until it emptys itself at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy. 

We put our canoes into it, paddling with the stream; it serpentines 
very much, the longest reaches run S. S. E. I computed that we made 
sixteen miles over the surface of the water tho' not more than 8 in our 
course. This river is full of salmon and trout, its banks are marked all 
over with the marks of the hoofs of moose-deer and the feet of other 
animals : — along the riverside there's fine extensive meadows running far 
into the land ; the woods appear very fine ; they are of oak, mapple, ash, 
beech and birch — the farther we advanced the water became deeper, and 
the current almost imperceptible. We encamped in a fine open wood of 
beech and black birch ; This day was showery and cold. 

2 1 St. — Continued our way down the Penobscot winding exceedingly 
about 4 miles, on the whole E. b S., here it takes a large sweep to the 
right running rapidly over rocks and shoals; to avoid it we took to the 
woods and walk'd N. N. E. a mile to the foot of the shallows, where we 
got into our canoes and paddled East i of a mile, and to save another 
large sweep of shallows to the left, we walk'd about 200 yds S. E. and 
came out of the wood at a place where a river every way equal to the Pen- 
obscot joins it from the N. N. E. and increases in breadth and depth very 
much. The lands begin to look exceeding rich here ; the country is very 
fine, beautifuUv variegjated wirh difi^erent shades of lively green ; We 

lo Journal kept 

proceeded down the river winding to and fro' but making good a S. S. E. 
course 26 miles to an island which parts the river in two, one part running 
N. E. the other E. S. E., we followed the last branch keeping the island 
on our left hand, and a little way down we put on shore to the right hand, 
and walked thro' the woods about 100 yds S. b E. to a dead creek — we 
followed its winding courses in our canoes about half a mile — it lead us 
into a round dead pond cover'd with broad leaves of a water plant. We 
steered over it S. by E. a quarter of a mile, its diameter, and encamped in 
the woods near it. 

22d. — We march'd thro' the woods, a mile S. to another dead creek half 
a mile in length leading us also S. winding to a large lake called by our 
Indians Moose-parun \ we entered the lake at the eastern extremity, it 
appeared about two miles wide. Opposite to the mouth of the creek 
there's two small rocky islands, a little way off. Looking down the lake 
Southwestward you have to appearance a reach of six or eight miles. The 
country to the Eastward is mountainous. 

This lake takes its name from a very remarkable mountain on the S. 
side, about nine miles down, the Indians say it resembles a moose-deer 
stooping. We found a high surf on the lake, and the wind strong at S. 
W. We kept the right hand shore close aboard and paddled 7* miles 
diredly in the winds eye. We cou'd stand it no longer, our canoes being 
almost filled with the spray, our flower was wetted, so we put ashore and 

The wind encreased to a heavy gale with great rain — the billows on the 
lake ran mountain high. The lands on which we encamped are very rich, 
the trees are large lofty and of the best timber such as oak, walnut. 

mapple, beech, ash and black, birch, the lake is about six miles or may be 
8 in width here, and begins to narrow farther down. 

2jd. — The wind fell before daylight and the lake was soon smooth, tho' 
there remain'd a heaving and long swell, however impatient to get forward 
we embarked and continued along the right hand shore a mile, then 
slaunted over to a point on the opposite shore 4 miles southerly ; behind 
this point the lake widens on all hands and shews a noble body of water 
finely rayed by long low points of land running off from the shore; many 
rich islands cover'd with fine wood add much to the beauty of the pros- 
peft. We turned quick round the point and paddled S.S.E. keeping now 
on the left hand shore to a charming point richly clad with oak without 
underwood ; from this point we steer'd S. by E. to a point on the right 
hand side from whence we had a noble view of the lake which now widens 
very much and is filled with large islands ; from point to point may be 3 
miles. From this last we steered S. S. W. 2 miles keeping the right hand 
shore and came to the head of the River Aransoak or Kennebek. Its first 
ifsue from this lake, is in a smooth clear sheet of about a hundred yards 
wide in a very gentle current — the surface is like a mirror; it narrows to 
about 40 yds in the course of a quarter of a mile, encreasing in velocity 
till at last it rushes furiously over a bed of rocks for 9 miles in winding 
courses from S. to W. and back to S., the westerly reaches being the longest. 
The River now widens into a circular pond half a mile over S. W. course, 
it afterwards contrafts itself for 200 yds and runs W. when it widens again 
to a quarter of a mile runing S. W. b W. 2 mile, it then takes its ordinary 
width and continues a little way with a gentle current, and then rushes 
suddenly over a bed of steep rocks for a mile and continues rapid for a 

12 Journal kept 

mile farther S. W., where we wereoblig'd to make a carrying place to avoid 
a large sweep in the river in very dangerous rapids. We carried our 
canoes, packs, &c. 4 miles in the woods in a S. W. direction ; it then grew 
duskish and we encamped. 

24th. — We proceeded with our faces to the S. W. three miles farther to 
the bank of a steep precipice ; with difficulty we got to the rivers side and 
embarked, padling with the stream ten miles, sometimes in strong and 
dangerous rapids veering backward and forward from S. to W.; here a river 
coming from the Northward joins the Kinnebek ; it rises as is said near 
the sources of the River Chaudiere. The country from the head of the 
river is poor, wild and rocky, cover'd with dwarf pine, spruce and unthriven 
birch. We continued farther 13 miles in varying courses from the S. W. 
to S. to a place well known to the Indians called the great carrying place. 
This leads to the river I have mention'd. The Interpreter, and the Indi- 
ans are to return to Canada this way for which reason we went on shore 
and left pork and flower, well wrapt up in birch bark, and hung the 
bundles on the branches of trees to preserve them from wild beasts. This 
will serve them on their return. 

The country begins to wear a more smiling aspedt, and continues for 5 
miles winding as before, down to a charming island where the country is 
past description, enchanting. The Indians much frequent this tract, on 
account of the incredible quantity of game with which the woods are stored, 
and the river here swarms with salmon, trout, and other fish. 

Continuing the same route or direction for 4 miles farther we came to a 
fall of about eight feet in perpendicular highth most romantically beautiful: 
the river is confined between two rocks, and rushes over in a surprising 

Bv Hugh Finlav. 13 

manner foaming with incredible fury : it falls into a fine rock-bound bason 
perfeftly circular and full of fish, we encamp'd on the side of this bason 
with the fall in front, and we caught a great quantity of fine fish here in a 
few minutes. 

25th. — Last night it froze hard. We left this very delightful spot and 
went with the stream S. S. E. j miles among fine islands cover'd with oak, 
beech, walnut, mapple and elm, and continued our route S miles farther in 
courses all round the compafs (still among islands) to a rapid where we 
were oblig'd to make a carrying place of a mile : the course S. thro' a 
grove of fine tall pines. We kept the river on our left; we embarked at 
the foot of the rapid, and continuing a mile southerly we came to a cleared 
point of land on the left hand shore, where there was formerly a large 
village of the Abenaqui Indians, it was called Aransoak, now Noridgewalk, it 
was deserted about the year 1756, not a vestige of it now remains. 
Opposite to this point the Kennebek receives a river coming from the 
westward ; on its banks we saw many haystacks, the first indication of 
inhabitants that we perceived, but we cou'd not descry any hut or house. 
Turning round the point we saw a smoak, and at some distance we came to 
a hut viihere we found two men, who had clear'd some acres of land and had 
sown it with wheat and rve ; they intend to build a house here next year. 

From this place to the nearest inhabitants is 10 miles. We continued 
our route and arriv'd at a number of fine settlements. We went to Capt. 
Jonathan Oaks's plantation ; he had been settled here but a year yet he had 
put 300 bushels of grain into his barn this harvest. He served in the 
Provincials last war. He inform'd me that from his house to Seguine 
Island at the mouth of Kennebek is 78 miles chained. 

14 Journal kept 

The country is quite new, there's no roads open'd, there's but paths 
thro' the woods from settlement to settlement. 

I discharged my Indians here, and instructed the Interpreter to return . 
by the great carrying place where we left provisions. 

I gave him written instruftions how to take the courses and direded him 
how to compute the distances, and to note the remarks of the Indians with 
their account of the nature of the country as they went along — and 1 recom- 
mended it to him, to keep it ever in his mind that the intention of this 
examination was to learn the most proper pafs for a road. 

We parted from our Indian friends and proceeded down the Kennebek 
in wooden canoes without meeting with anything remarkable. The country 
settles fast, therefore it is but reasonable to imagine that high-wavs will in 
time be opened, by which means there will be an easy communication 
between Noridgewalk and Brunswick ; from this last mentioned place, one 
may ride on horseback to Falmouth in Casco Bay, which is the last Post 
Town in New England and the nearest to Quebec. 

We left Kennebek River at Merry-meeting bay, rowed up the river 
Amorescoggin to Brunswick, and from thence over land four miles to 
Casco Bay, embark'd there in a canoe, and arriv'd at Falmouth on Thurs- 
day the 30th of September, having been five days from Capt. Oaks's to 
this place, 98 miles distant. It was with the utmost difficulty that we could 
procure canoes to carry us along. 

BY Hugh Finlay. 

It appears by this Journal that the distance 

From Quebec to Launieres the last house on the River ] Miles 

Chaudiere, in a good road is J 5; 

From Launiere's house, to carry a road in the best path,"] 
thro' a country dry and level, (as appears by the \ 
proper route protrafted) down to Noridgewalk the [ -" 

first and nearest settlement in New England | 

• From Noridgewalk to Oaks's or Wafsarunset R. 10 

From Wafsarunset to P'almouth in Casco Bay 98 

In all from Quebec to Fahiiouth 310 

The lands on the Kennebek are the property of some gentlemen known 
by the name of the Plymouth Comp'y, they will not give any encourage- 
ment to open this road. 

And I have it from good authority that the Afsemblywill not grant one 
shilling towards opening a road this way, into Canada. The Publick says, 
let the Plymouth Company improve their property by opening high-ways, 
why shou'd the people contribute to make their estate valuable ! Besides 
an opinion prevails, that all the country East of New Hampshire will be 
cut off from the Mafsachusets Bay and made a Province bounded by 
Nova Scotia. 

Governor Hutcheson promised to write to the Minister on this matter, 
and that he would recommend the plan as beneficial to commerce in 
general, and in particular of benefit to the Provinces of Quebec and 

i6 Journal kept 

At The Post OJfice at Falmouth in Casco-Bay, zd O^lober, 1773. 

Mr Child the deputy there represents, that no allowance has been made 
to him in lieu of the liberty of franking which was taken from him, and 
he got the promise of an equivalent, — he says that he advis'd the late 
Comptroller that he valued his postage at 40s. Str "jr* ann. 

H.e further represents that the employment is very troublesome to him, 
and of no manner of advantage, nay that it is a loss to him, for he cannot 
withstand the earnest solicitations of indigent people who have letters by 
the post, he delivers them, and never receives payment. 

Everv person who looks for a letter or a news paper freely enters his 
house, be it post day or not; he cannot afford to set apart a room in his 
house as an office; he is continually disturb'd in his family, he therefor 
begs that some other person may be appointed in his stead, unless an office- 
is allowed him. 

As naval officer, he gives dayly attendance at the Custom house, under 
that roof there is a small room to lett, which wou'd be a commodious office 
for him and convenient for the Publick. 

The people of Falmouth know Mr Child, they wish he may continue 
to be Post Master, as he is a careful man, and they are sensible of the 
advantage of a regular communication with the other parts on the conti- 

From his general charafter and what I saw of him, I think he will 
endeavor to encrease the Revenue by every means in his power as long as 
he takes charge of the office. From the great numbers of people settling 
to the Eastward of Falmouth, I imagine that correspondence must encrease 
much in these parts. 

BY Hugh Finlav. 17 

There's two or three vefsels in constant employment between Boston 
and Fahiiouth ; they are called Packets, each of them makes about twenty 
trips yearly, and every trip they carry many hundreds of letters. Mr 
Child once attempted to put the Law in force and took the letter-bag of 
one of those vefsels to the office, but it made such a bustle and noise in 
town that he dared never attempt it again. 

The Masters of these vefsels say, that each letter accompanys a package 
on freight, and that they will not deliver them to the Post Master for that 
reason : it is well known that not one letter in ten accompanys goods, yet 
the law is so defedive that the ad can never be put in force. 

The Post from Boston arrives here every Saturday about four o'clock 
in good weather, he remains in Falmouth until Wednesday morning, and 
proceeds to Portsmouth 62 miles which he performs in 36 hours. 

The rider has .£35 Str. p ann. and is paid by the office at Portsmouth, 
he is sober, honest and diligent. 

The road from Falmouth to Portsmouth is good in summer, in winter 
indifferent, there's some bad bridges. 

At Portsmouth in New Hampshire, ^th OHober, Eleazer Rujsell, Dep. 

His office is small and looks mean, his books are in good form and up 
to this day; he is a careful regular officer, he understands his businefs and 
seems to have the interest of the office at heart. 

The Post from the Westward, that is the mails from Virginia, Mary- 
land, Pensylvania, Jersey, New York and Boston arrive at his office at 1 [ 
o'clock in good weather — in winter after a fall of snow, or heavy rain, he 
seldom arrives before ten o'clock at night, when the wind blows hard from 


certain points, he is detained at the ferry at Newbury Port, for there's no 
pafsing there in a high wind. 

One Stavers some years ago began to drive a stage coach between Ports- 
mouth and Boston : his drivers hurt the office very much by carrying 
letters, and they were so artful that the post master cou'd not detedt them; 
it was therefore judged proper to take this man into the pay of the office, 
and to give two mails weekly between Boston and Portsmouth. This 
was of no disadvantage to the Post office because the mails brought by the 
stage coach did rather more than pay £io Str. Stavers's yearly salary. 

At this day there's many stages between this place and Boston, and they 
hurt the office much. 

Mr Rufsel says that the drivers cannot be detecfled, they have small 
sham bundles with each letter or they are given to the Passengers in the 
coach, who will without hesitation say that they are letters of recommenda- 
tion which they carry. 

Mr Rufsel advises to keep Stavers in pay because the people have been 
so long accustomed to have two mails weekly, the publick wou'd raise a 
clamour were one taken away, and as Stavers's salary is paid from the 
amount of the letters he brings to the office, it is best to let things remain 
as they are for the present. 

The coach mail (Stavers's) shou'd arrive on Saturdays at midday, but it 
is very irregular, depending entirely on the state of the roads, so that Mr 
Rufsel is oblig'd to attend at his office for this mail from midday until 
midnight to receive and deliver the letters, for it is a rule with him to do 
no businefs on Sunday — yet hitherto he has carried home all Publick 
letters that were not sent for in time and he has delivered them even on 
Sundav at his own house. 

BY Hugh Finlay. 19 

By the books it appears that the stage mails amount from 6 to 30 dwt. 

Thus Mr Rufsel's time as Post Master is taken up. 

On Monday evening the mails for the Westward are made up, the stage 
leaves Stavers's at sunrise next morning. On Wednesday the Post arrives 
from the Westward — in winter much attendance is requir'd on these days. 
On Thursday at Noon the Falmouth Post arrives ; there's frequently no 
letters in summer. The benefit arising from this Post is but small, for 
correspondence is entirely carried on by the coasting vefsels in summer. 
When thev are laid up in winter for two or three months there's tollerable 
mails between Boston and Falmouth. On Friday the Mails for the 
Westward and Eastward are made up. For Newbury, Salem, Boston, 
&c. at II o'clock and for Falmouth at 10 o'clock. 

On Saturday as has been mention'd the stage mail arrives and long 
attendance is requisite in Winter. 

Mr Rufsel prays that he may have a quarterly allowance in lieu of the 
liberty he formerly enjoyed viz. to frank his own letters, sent or received, 
and that allowance may be made to him from the time that Mr Parkers 
circular letter depriv'd him of that perquisite. He declares on his word 
that it was a saving to him of £6 to £S lawful money yearly. 

He also for his own sake prays, that it may be had in remembrance, 
that he is oblig'd to deliver the Governors letters without receiving the post- 
age — in the common run of the Provincial publick businefs he cannot 
receive the amount of his account under 12 months, because it must pafs 
in Afsembly. He fears that his slownefs in remitting the balance of his 
account may appear in his disfavour. 

20 Journal kept 

6th of Odtr. — I left Portsmouth to wait on Govr. Wentworth at his seat 
at Wolfsborovigh 48 miles North of Portsmouth ; I carried a letter of 
introdudtion to him from Mr Foxcroft who is very desirous to have a 
road opened thro' any of the neighbouring Provinces into Canada to avoid 
lakes and water carriage, which so often detains the couriers with the mails 
to and from that country, to the great prejudice of the trade in that flour- 
ishing Province ; and as Governor Wentworth from a superior publiclc 
spirit has exerted himself beyond belief in settling the Province under his 
care, even back to the boundary between New Hampshire and Canada. 
It is imagined nay it is certain, that thro' New Hampshire will be the best 
and easyest way to Canada especially considering that the roads are opened 
and the country settled almost up to the line of 45°. It only remains 
with Canada to meet New Hampshire, and I compute that there will not 
be much above a hundred miles to open. 

I found the Governor just as he had been represented, ever willing and 
always ready to second any proposal that has the least tendency to be of 
service to the Publick or of benefit to his Province ; he afsured me that 
he would have roads open'd immediately to the very line, and that in due 
time, he would have convenient stages at ten to fifteen miles distance, where 
a change of horses might be procured at a short warning. 

His Excellency recommended a Surveyor to me whom I immediately 
dispatch'd to Canada, to take the courses, measure the distance by compu- 
tation and make remarks on a route prescrib'd to him, viz. From a gap in 
the White hills, down to the Indian village of St. Francis on a river of the 
same name which emptys itself into the River St. Lawrence 7 or 8 leagues 
above three rivers on the opposite side. 

BY Hugh Finlay. 21 

I saw the surveyor set out, and then took my leave of the Governor, 
and return'd to Portsmouth the Xth of Oftober at night. 

yth. Settled Mr Rufsels accounts of many years standing and receive'd 
the balance of his account cur't. with the General Post Office and mem. in 
my book of settlements with Deputvs, Note: That Mr Rufsel takes no 
advantage of the course of exchange in his remittances at different times. 
M r Parker the late Comptroller gave him credit in the Comptrollers books 
at par, but he bought bills under par which makes a considerable difference 
to the office, and which as he observed he might have pocketed, but in jus- 
tice he accounts for it. 

Mr Rufsel never had a commifsion ; no copy of instrucflions, he begs to 
have both with an exemption from publick service. 

In consequence of hints dropt by several people concerning the carelefs- 
nefs of the driver of Staver's coach with regard to letters put into his 
hands, I inform'd Stavers of these complaints. His son drives the coach, 
he was called in before me, and I gave him a severe reprimand laying 
before him the consequences of his want of care, and shewing him that if 
ever he did attempt to defraud the office by receiving monev for carrying 
letters, and afterwards concealing it without accounting to the Post Office, 
he wou'd be severely punished. 

This stage driver, as he is in the service of the office shou'd give bonds, 
shou'd take a rider's oath, and he shou'd be furnished with extrafts from 
the Aft of Parliam't relative to Riders, and if extratls were put up in 
publick places of Inns on the roads where stage coaches and carriers pafs, 
shewing them the risk they run by illegal carriage o* letters, and have the 
same inserted and continued for some months in all the publick papers, 
it might have a very [jood effeft. 

Left Portsmouth after dinner, and arrived at 

Newbury (22 milei), Bulkeley Emerson, Depy 

On Sunday loth did no business. 

Monday i ith. — Examined the books, they were in form and up to this 
day : he has no office, but receives and delivers letters in his shop, he is a 
bookseller. He seems to be a staved, sober man. Received the balance 
of the quarter ending the 5th. 

The Post from Boston arrives on Tuesdays at 6 o'clock in the evening. 

From Portsmouth on the same day at one P. M. 

From Boston on Friday 6 o'clock P. M. in summer. 

From Portsmouth on Friday between 4 and 5 P. M. 

The mail for Boston is made up on Tuesday, one o'clock. 

For the Eastward at the same time. 

For Boston on Friday 4 o'clock P. M. 

For the Eastward at the same time, but there's seldom any letters either 
for East or West. The stages and private conveyances take all. 

Left a copy of Mr Foxcrofts direftions to me dated i6th Sept. to settle 
and receive balances from the Deputy Post masters. 

Mr Emerson thinks that the want of Post-horn? is a loss to the office, 
for by warning given by the horn many letters wou'd go by Post which 
are now sent by other oportunity's — the Post shou'd blow before the hour 
of shutting, and in passing on his way many letters wou'd be deliver'd to 

He asks, whether, if the drivers of stages were to be paid a penny for 
every letter they bring to the office he might charge two pence tor all such 

BY Hugh Finlay. 2j 

letters deliverable in town. The Rider who brings the mails to this office 
is punftual. The office here neither encreases nor diminishes, the rece't is 
from £9 to £10 lawful, quarterly. 

Lett Newbury and proceeded 12 miles to 

Ipswitch, James Foster, Depy 

Gone to the country ; he keeps a small shop. Left diredlions for him 
in writing to send his accots. with the General Post office by next Post., 
direfted for me at the Post office in Boston, and also to send the balance 
of his account, and to inform me of the days and hours of the arrival of 
mails at his office, and the times of the Post's departure from his office, 
with any proposals he may have to make for the good of the office — with 
his report of the riders employed. 

Proceeded 12 miles to 

Salem, Edward Norice, Depy. 

Oftober i ith. — His books were not in good order, he follows the form, 
but they are dirty and not brought up regularly ; he understands the 
businefs of a deputy. The office is kept in a small mean looking place. 
He teaches writing. He has no commifsion to act, he took charge ot the 
office at the death of his father ; he reports that every other day the stage 
coach goes for Boston, the drivers take many letters, so that but few are 
forwarded by Post to or from his office. If an information were lodged 
(but an informer wou'd get tar'd and feather'd) no jury wou'd find the tact; 
it is deem'd necefsarv to hinder all ads of Parliament from taking effeft in 

24 Journal kept 

America. They are they say to be governed by laws of their own framing 
and no other. 

While Mr Norrice was making up his accounts I went down the i2th, 
four miles, to 

Marhleliead, Woodward Abrahams, Deputy. 

He was from home: his wife informs me that he accounts to Mr Hub- 
bard, Post Master in Boston, and the quarter ending the 5th July was 
settled and transmitted. Wrote a letter to Mr Abrahams, as follows: 

"My businefs with you was to look into your office books, to receive 
" the quarters account ending the 5th of this month, and the balance due 
" by you to the General Office, and to enquire if you have anything to 
" propose for the good of the service, or anything to represent needing 
" amendment, but as I have mifs'd of you, I pray you to transmit the 
"accounts and balance to me at Mr Hubbard's in Boston by the first 
" Post: and be so good as to inform me of any matter which you think a 
" Surveyor shou'd be made acquainted with, whose businefs is to further 
" the interest of the General Post Office, and facilitate correspondence by 
" every pofsible means. I shou'd be glad to know particularly how the 
" mails are forwarded, since John Noble cannot ride thro' this place. I 
" shall leave Salem for Boston to morrow morning, where I shall remain 
" some days." 

In passing thro' the street in my way back to Salem, I met Mr Abra- 
hams on his return from the country : a few minutes before my letter was 
put into his hands, he promised to comply with my demands. He appears 
to be an intelligent man ; he has an employment in the Customs, and 
keeps the Post Office where he does Custom House businefs. 

BY Hugh Finlav. 25 

Noble, the rider, cannot go downto Marblehead at present. The small- 
pox is in Salem, and was he to go down with the mail he wou'd be oblig'd 
to undergo the ceremony of smoaking, that is, to be fumigated with brim- 
stone; as he is of a weakly constitution he cannot submit to it, therefore 
he leaves the Marblehead bag to take its chance of a conveyance; opportu- 
nitys happen once or twice a dav, yet it sometimes lies for days at Salem 
— the people in Marblehead complain of this. It is Noble's duty to send 
it down by a person sent on purpose, this rider is careful, sober and 
punftual ; he rides all the way to Portsmouth. 

On my return to Salem I settled with Mr Norice, who would not swear 
to his accounts as he has no commifsion. 

The Post from Boston arrives at Salem on Tuesday 12 o'clock, and he 
is dispatch'd for the Eastward at 2 ; coming from Boston the rider goes 
first to Marblehead. 

He returns from the Eastward every Saturday morning at 10 o'clock, 
and takes Marblehead on his way to Boston. 

Left Salem and proceeded 21 miles to 

Boston, [ivhere I arrived the 13//;), -Tuthill Hubbard, Post Master. 

During the stay that I made in Boston, I was introduc'd to some of the 
principal people in town. I got information respeding the office. I learnt 
their complaints and heard their proposals for obviating all cause ot 

From time to time I consulted with Mr Hubbard about the most likely 
means to put everything on the best footing. Waited on His Excellency 
Governor Hutcheson to learn if the Province under his command would 

26 Journal kept 

agree to open a road from the settled country on the river of Kennebek, 
to the boundary line dividing Mafsachusets from the Province ot Quebec, 
afsuring him that Lieut. Governor Cramahe would immediately meet him 
from the last settlements on the river Chaudiere to the extent of his gov- 
ernment towards the Mafsachusets. 

His Excellency informed me, That the troubles and confusion now 
subsisting in his Province, join'd to the present spirit of the people, left 
him but little room to imagine that any regard wou'd be paid to any 
proposal coming from him however beneficial to the Province, but that it 
wou'd rather be vigourously oppos'd. He said that he wou'd certainly 
write to the Minister on this matter. 

I had the honor to dine with him on the 23d, when we talk'd over the 
road scheme a second time^I find that there's no prosped of receiving 
any afsistance from the Afsembly. 

I also made it my business to learn the opinions of such as I know, 
concerning the propos'd new road. It is thought, that if a grant of money 
were requested for this service, the proposal wou'd be rejeded — because 
the majority of the house have lands to the Westward. The new settle- 
ments on Kennebek, &c. drain the Western parts of the Province of their 
inhabitants, and reduce the value of lands, for this reason they will not 
encourage the settlement of the East by opening roads, or in any other 
way; and another reason equally weighty, is: The people imagine that all 
the lands lying to the Eastward of Piscataway River as far as the western 
boundary of Nova Scotia, will be seperated from the Mafsachusets, and 
erefted into a new Province. In this case the money expended on a road 
into Canada this way, would be so much lost to the Province of the Maf- 

BV Hugh Finlay. ay 

I apply'd to some of the proprietors of a very extensive traft of land 
lying on the banks of the River of Kennebek — it is the property of the 
Plymouth Company : they are very sensible that a road thro' their great 
traft would accelerate the settlement of their lands, and in a few years 
double their value; but from Doctor Gardiner (a principal) I find that 
they imagine that they may have interest with the House of Afsembly, to 
grant a sum for the purpose of opening a Post road thro' their lands up to 
the boundary between Quebec and Mafsachusets in the streightest direc- 
tion ; I find also that if thev shou'd be disappointed in their expedlations, 
they will probably open the communication themselves if they find it 
necefsary to induce settlers, yet their attempt to obtain a grant will require 
much time — they will spare no pains to save their own money — thus it 
appears that the opening of this most desirable pafs is at a verv distant 
period unlefs some Regiments by an order from home, are put to this verv 
useful work. 

The Deputy Post Master General commanded me " to enquire minutely 
"into the time of the arrival of the Saturday's Post at Boston, and what 
"there is to hinder them from getting in by ii or i ; o'clock in place of 
" the evening." 

Mr Hubbard receives the mails from the Westward, in the summer 
about 6 o'clock in the evening of Saturday, in winter the arrival of the 
Post is very uncertain, it is sometimes late on Sunday when snow, and 
high winds, with floating ice detains him at the different ferrys. He says, 
that the arrival of the Post sooner than six o'clock on Saturday evening 
cannot benefit the trading body in Boston, as they have until Monday at 
two o'clock to answer their letters. 

28 Journal kept 

The merchants neverthelefs wish to have the arrival of the mails fix'd to 
I 2 o'clock on Saturdays because if the fix'd and customary time is twelve, 
he may surely get in by the evening in bad weather and of course our letters 
will be deliver'd to us on Saturday night, at present six is the hour, but it 
is sometimes so late 'ere the Post arrives that we cannot get our letters out 
of the office until Sunday evening — for Mr Hubbards rule is to keep the 
office shut until sunset on Sunday. 

Peter Mumford rides between Boston and New Port in Rhode Island; he 
has never given bond nor did he ever take a Post rider's oath. He avers 
that he is an expeditious rider and faithful to the office ; publick report is 
against him ; it is said that he carries more letters for his own private profit 
than are sent from all the offices he stops at, to the office at Boston. He 
transafts a great deal of businefs on the road, loads his carriage with bundles, 
buys and sells on commifsion, and in short but carrys the mail by the by 
as it helps to defray his expences. Of this I shall take no further notice 
here ; I shall make farther enquiry's as I pafs along to New Port, there 
tender the oath to him and bring him under bonds. 

N.B. To accomplish Mr Foxcrofts desire the time granted to the 
different riders must be regulated, that six hours may be gain'd in the riding 
work between New York and Boston, which may most certainly be done, 
but as I pafs along from office to office I shall be enabled to ascertain this 

Peter Mumfords ride from Boston to New Port is 80 miles pafsing 
thro' Providence, Warren and Bristol for which service he is obliged to 
keep three horses and is paid .£40 Str. 'j-* ann. 

He should leave Boston at three o'clock Monday afternoon, but I am 
told that it is 5 or 6 ere he takes horse, he arrives at Providence, 45 miles. 

BY Hugh Finlay. ' 29 

at 9 o'clock next morning and at New Port, 35 miles farther, at 5 o'clock 
in the evening of Tuesday. On his return from New Port with the western 
mails he leaves that office on Friday, half past two P. M., pafsing thro' 
Bristol and Warren he arrives at Providence between 7 and 8 o'clock on 
Saturday morning, he leaves it at 9 and arrives at Boston at six in the 
evening in fine weather. 

Thus 26 hours are requir'd to ride 80 miles. The reason of this is, the 
rider sleeps by the way. If this ride is too much for one man to perform 
let the ride be divided in two, and let there be no sleeping. Twenty hours 
may be given to ride 80 miles, and there will be time sufficient to feed and 
change horses and for the riders to attend a sufficient time at every office. 
There's three ferrys between Providence and New Port, one near to Pro- 
vidence half a mile wide, another at Warren a skow ferry, and one from 
the Main to Rhode Island a mile over, they are all well attended. 

Let me here observe that short stages will encrease the speed of the mails, 
and were they all to be fix'd at 30 miles or thereby it wou'd answer many 
good purposes. The best wou'd be expedition, and besides letters wou'd 
not be so frequently entrusted to a riders care nor wou'd they be so much 
employed in executing commifsions to retard their progrefs with the mails. 

Peter Mumford lives at New Port, were his ride curtailed one half he 
would stop at Providence. New Port has but little connexion with Pro- 
vidence but their intercourse with Boston is great — by having two riders 
it wou'd be found difficult to transadt businefs by means of the couriers 
between these two places. 

Complaints are made of the stupidity of the man who attends the office 
at Boston. Mr Hubbard is not blam'd in any thing except for not em- 
ploying a sharp lively fellow where expedition is always look'd for. There's 

^o Journal kept 

no runner employ'd at this office; one wou'd be useful. The riders have 
no Post horns. 

The accounts in this office are regularly kept and pundually transmitted 
to the Comptroller every quarter. 

Some people wish to have the Canada mail sent direftly from Albany to 
Boston, at present the letters from thence are sent thro' New York. The 
whole amount of the postage of letters between Boston and Canada would 
not pay ,'„th part of a riders wages. 

Left Boston the 25th and rode 45 miles to 

The road is good tho' a little rocky in some places. John Carter is 
Deputy here, he is a printer, seemingly an aftive sensible man : he has had 
charge of the office two years. 

26th. — At the Post-office — or rather the printing office ; for there's no 
apartment appropriated for the rece't and delivery of letters, tho' they are 
kept lock'd up. I find that Mr Carter has never return'd his accounts. 

He has been in dayly expeftation to receive the books of the office, the 
instruftions and the forms from one Cole, the former deputy, but he has 
put him off with excuses from day to day. This Cole's now in the country 
attending a county Court, when he returns, Mr Carter expeds the books 
&c. will be deliver'd up to him, and he promises to transmit his accounts 
and remit whatever may be due, to the Comptroller in three weeks from 
this day. 

BY Hugh Finlay. 31 

Mr Carter represents "that the mails from the westward by a late alter- 
"ation in the Post route now crofs five ferry's between Naraganset and 
"Providence, whereas by the old route there's not so much as one ferry 
"to crofs. The Post previous to this regulation arrived at Providence 
"on Friday evening at 9 o'clock, now at soonest it is Saturday morning at 
"nine, and in winter it is sometimes Sunday morning, Tuesday, nay even 

"For the mails to crofs five ferrys, in the small distance of 50 miles 
"(two of them dangerous in winter) cannot be for the Kings service. As 
"an addition to this representation, he begs leave to observe, that after 
"the mails from the Westward arrive at New London, the printer there 
"extrafts all advices from newspapers, which requires considerable time; 
"the New London paper is afterwards printed containing these extrafts, 
"and it it sent to him by a. private conveyance by way of Norwich, by 
"which the New York paper is also sent to him, both which he receives 
" 12 sometimes 14 hours before the arrival of the Post." 

Left Providence the 27th and the 28th arriv'd at 

New Port, Thomas Vernon, Depy. 

The distance is 35 miles. 

Went to the Post office which is here kept in a small room apart, I 
shew'd Mr V^ernon my authority from Mr Foxcroft to settle accounts 
with him and to receive his balance. He appointed Saturday for a settle- 
ment. Saturday examin'd his books, and found them in form and order, 
and settled his account up to the 5th of Oftober, 1773. His account of 
the arrival and departure of the Post agrees with the Boston account. He 

32 Journal kept 

is of opinion that much time is lost by Peter Mumford between New Port 
and Boston. He says that theres two Post offices in New Port, the King's 
and Mumfords, and that the revenue of the last is the greatest. It is the 
same in Boston, both Mumford and the rider of the upper Stages (Hyde) 
receive much postage for which they do not account. It is common for 
people who expeft letters by Post finding none at the Post office to say 
'■'well there must be letters, we'll find them at Mumfords." It is next to 
impofsible to put a stop to this praftice in the present universal opposi- 
tion to every thing conneded with Great Britain. Were any Deputy Post 
Master to do his duty, and make a stir in such matter, he would draw on 
himself the odium of his neighbours and be mark'd as the friend of Slav- 
ery and opprefsion and a declar'd enemy to America. 

The two ferrys from Rhode Island over to Naraganset are each three 
miles and a half over; in winter when the wind is ahead, with floating ice, 
it is both very difficult, and exceedingly dangerous to pafs, and sometimes 
tho' but seldom the course of the Post is stop'd for a week, this does not 
happen above twice or thrice in a year. 

N. B. — These ferrys can be avoided by leaving the New Port mail at 
Towerhill, but in this case there must be a by-rider for New Port. 

On Saturday evening sat out for Bristol to settle with Mr Usher the 
deputy there. 

is 12 miles from New Port, a village of no trade and of very little conse- 
quence any way. The dept. was not at home, but on my return towards 
New Port next day I met him on the road. He promised to bringdown 
his papers to New Port, to lay them before me as he knew not how to 
make up his accounts. 

BV Hugh Finlay. 23 

November ist. — Mr Usher brought his papers, and I sat down to shew 
him how to keep his accounts, and made them up for him to the 5th 
Jany, 1773 — he promises to finish them soon, and send them with the 
balance due; he has kept the office two years, the whole sum received in 
that time is about ^10 lawful. He has no commifsion nor exemption 
from serving as a juryman &c. 

Wrote to Mr Burr dep. at Warren to send his accounts. Saw Ben. 
Mumford, the rider between New Port and Sny Brook. He represents 
that it is not pofsible for him to continue in the service of the office with- 
out his wages are augmented or his ride shortened, and beg leave to refer 
all further representation until I shall have examined his stage, — this man 
bears the charader of a sober, diligent man, and an expeditious rider. 

3d. — Peter Mumford took the oath of a Post rider, and sign'd proper 
bonds. I warned him of his danger in carrying letters privately for his own 
emolument, and that my instructions might make a deep imprefsion on 
him, I wrote him a letter shewing him what he is bound to perform and 
enclosed a copy of his bond and oath. 

5th November. — Left New Port, it blew then very hard, the ferry is 
three miles and a half across; the wind tho' strong was pretty fair; we 
crofs'd in twenty minutes ; from the landing over the Island Conanicut is 
i of a mile pretty good road to a second ferry of three miles ; the wind 
increas'd and headed us ; we embark'd in a terrible sea, in the open ferry- 
boat close hauled; the man who attended the sail was late in easing off 
the sheets in a squall, the boat lay down and we were in great danger ; the 
boats at these ferrys are very fine ; we got over in lefs than an hour. 
Rode on four mile to Towerhill. 

34 Journal kept 

Mr Sands the master of the house lay sick in bed, I cou'd not see him. 
Letters are sent from different parts of the country to this house to be 
forwarded by Post to New Port &:c. Eastward, to New London &c. 
Westward. Next morning saw Mr Sands very ill in bed. He has no 
commifsion but will take one. 

6th. — Continued my route towards New London where I expected to 
arrive in the evening, but I found the road past all conception bad so that 
from daybreak until sunset I made but jj miles and put up at a little 
tavern 4 mile east of New London. The road is one continued bed of 
rocks and very hilly. It is impofsible for a Post to ride above 4 mile an 
hour in such road, and to do even that he must have a good horse, one 
used to such a rocky path. 

7th. — Got to the ferry at 9 o'clock in the morning and pafsed the River 
Thames a mile wide to 

New London. 

The ferry is very well attended, it is not difficult — they grumble at 
being oblig'd to carry the Post over when it is dark, or when it rains or 
blows, they seem much inclin'd to refuse the service but they fear the 

8th. — Visited John S. Miller, the Deputy, he keeps his office in a room 
hir'd on purpose in the very centre of the town. He is a young man who 
talks sensibly of Post Office matters, and who seems to be a Post Master 
in his heart. His office is neat, his books fair and up, his papers are in 

Bv Hugh Finlay. 35 

order and every thing is in due form. One bad custom has crept in at 
New London, the people in Mr Chews time (the former Post Master) 
had free accefs at all times to the office; Mr Miller has attempted to break 
this custom, but he finds he cannot, without quarreling with his friends. 

Mr Miller regularly transmits his quarterly accounts to the comptroller. 
The whole income of his office goes to pay the rider Benjamin Mumford 
between Saybrook and New Port, a distance of 60 miles, with five ferrys, 
on the whole the most difficult and as dangerous as any in America; the 
road without exception the worst, for which service he is paid £55 Str. %* 
ann ; — he says that the number of horses he hurts thro' the badnefs of the 
roads runs away with all his profit, and that as there's no manner of per- 
quisite for a rider between Saybrook and New Port, his wages are too small 
to provide him in horses and maintain his family. I firmly believe it. 

It is the custom on every stage that I have surveyed, for the Post rider 
to execute commifsions on the road — I have been informed that Peter 
Mumford the rider between Newport and Boston makes above £100 Str. 
yearly of his employment over and above his wages from the Post office. 

Benjamin Mumford petitions that his stage may be between New Port 
and New London and no farther, and that he may be allow'd his present 
salary for that service. 

On consulting Mr Miller on this matter he said he wou'd afsign reasons 
why B. Mumford should not proceed to Saybrook, and the next day he 
delivered a paper to me containing the following reasons: 

"Mr Miller, Deputy Post Master of New London, is of opinion that 
"the stages from the Eastward and Westward to this town upon the pres- 
"ent footing is unequal to the riders, an inconveniency to the publick, and 
"of hurt to the Revenue, therefore begs leave to propose, 

36 Journal kept 

"ist, That the Eastern rider Ben. Mumford may make his stage 
"between this town and Newport : it will be as much as he or any man 
" can perform in the time allotted him considering the ferry's at New Port 
"and at New London, which he must pafs to perform it — He should not 
"proceed to Saybrook as he now does. 

"2d, That the Western do meet the Eastern rider at this place on 
"Wednesday evening, which may be done if the Western rider will make 
"more expedition than he now does, or another rider maybe appointed at 
"Saybrook to receive the mail from the Westward and proceed with it to 
"this office. 

"3d, To exchange mails at this place will be extremely agreeable to the 
"merchants, as it will put it in their power to return answers to all the 
"letters they receive, the same week, which as the mails are now forwarded 
"they cannot do, and thus a lofs arises to the Revenue as they are obliged 
"to send their letters by boats &c. for want of a more expeditious 

"4th, The reasonablenefs of this proposal will appear, when it is con- 
"sidered that this place is nearly centrical between New York and Boston, 
"there being but a few miles difference, and at Saybrook where the riders 
"exchange mails, there's no office. 

"5th, If it be judged expedient that the above regulations take place it 
"will be necefsary to make an alteration relative to the paym't of the 
"salary paid at this office to the Eastern rider, namely, that after paying 
"the Say Brook rider, the remainder be paid to Mumford, and for what 
"may fall short in this office let him apply to the Post Master at New 
"Port; the revenue of the New London office has not hitherto been able 
"to discharge a greater sum than Mumfords wages. 

BY Hugh Finlav. 37 

"6th, In the winter, it often happens that the Posts are detain'd at 
"Say Brook ferry, by ice, winds, &:c. when this happens, let them give a 
"signal to each other, and proceed farther up the river where they may 
"cross with ease." Sign'd, J. S. Miller. 

After having perused the above representation and put several questions 
to Mr Miller, I inform'd him that I shou'd lay the matter before the 
Deputy General, after examining the other part of B. Mumfords stage to 
the Westward of New London. I desir'd him to enquire for a proper 
person at Saybrook or in New London, in the meantime who wou'd under- 
take the ride, if it should be thought proper to alter the Eastern riders 

Waited with impatience for Mumford's arrival from New Port. The 
time fixed for the arrivals from thence are Wednesday evening 6 o'clock. 
The rider proceeds 5 miles to the rope ferry, there he sleeps, and proceeds 
next morning to Say Brook 13 miles, where he arrives at 11 o'clock, he 
there meets the Western rider, and he exchanges mails with him and 
immediately sets out on his return to New London, where he arrives, in 
good weather at two o'clock, in winter it is three, or later : he makes no 
stop but proceeds to New Port, where he arrives on Friday afternoon. 

nth. — Wrote to Mr Babcock, Dep. at Westerly, whom I did not see 
in my way to this place, desiring him to send his accounts up to the last 
quarter with the balance due, to the Comp'r. 

Finding it wou'd be convenient to have an hours conversation with the 
Western rider, I sat out for Saybrook, and arriv'd there about two o'clock, 
I found the road pretty good from the rope ferry, where I found old Herd 
the Western rider waiting Mumford's arrival : he had been here three 

j8 Journal kept 

hours — it is very uncustomary for the riders to be detain'd at this season, 
but I conclude he finds it impofsible to pafs at the Rhode Island ferrys, 
from high contrary winds. This man Herd at 72 is strong and robust, he 
has been in the service 46 years ; he pretends that he makes nothing by 
it, and says "he will give it up — that at present he only rides for his 
"healths sake, which induces him to keep it." 

It is well known that he has made an estate by his riding, and it is said, 
in the following way. 

Way letters he makes his own perquisite, or rather he has done so in 
former times, at present each office checks him a little — He does much 
businefs on the road on commifsion, he is a publick carrier, and loads his 
horse with merchandise for people living in his route; he receives cash, 
and carry's money backwards and forwards, takes care of return'd horses, 
and in short refuses no businefs however it may affed his speed as Post. 
But for the delays occasioned by his own affairs, he might perform his 
ride in time, in any weather. 'Tis ridiculous to see his Majestys courier, 
metamorphos'd to a snail paced Carrier. He has the addrefs to be punft- 
ual in his arrivals at New York. Both Herd and Mumford have lost 
weeks at Say Brook and made the impofsibility of pafsing by reason of 
winds, ice, &:c. an excuse for their delays, while at bottom lazinefs was the 
real cause. 

By the sketch on the next page, is seen the route from New London to 
Saybrook ; the double lines mark the Post road — the single dotted line 
marks away from New London but two or three miles about to a place on 
Connefticut River where the Post may always pafs. 

Now let them in winter constantly pafs this way or let them take the old 
road if they will. When they find the winds too high or the pafsage 

Ilimk Ifinn Xiw Lomhm t<r Sai/hnmk 


BY Hugh Finlay. 


obstrufted by ice let them agree on a signal to inform each other that they 
have gone up the river. By this means the detentions at Saybrook will 
be avoided, and there will be no breaks in the Post riding. 

After questioning old Herd (who is not backward in sounding his own 
praises) on sundry matters, I asked him if he would lengthen his ride by 
proceeding to New London, but he peremptorily refuses to go farther than 
Say Brook on any consideration. 

Crofs'd the ferry, it is well attended, about i of a mile in width, the 
boats are good tho' not so large as those at Rhode Island. I proceeded 7 
miles farther on, in a fine road and put up at a publick house where the 
Post always stops, I intended to proceed with him at whatever hour he 
shou'd arrive. 

1 2th. — The Post not come up, proceeded alone towards New Haven, 
pafsing thro' well settled Townships. Killingsworth is a pleasant village, 
a mile long : East and West Guilford are large villages, as is Bamford 
likewise ; there must certainly pafs many letters to and from these towns, 
but the riders I believe make them a perquisite, as there's no offices in 
these places to check them. The road is very good. The ferry at New 
Haven, or rather two miles from it is about 100 yds wide and is pretty 
well attended ; from the ferry to the town the road was good. 

Many people ask'd me if I had not met the Post driving some oxen; 
it seems he had agreed to bring some along with him. 

Journal kept 
New Haven, Christopher Kilby, Deputy 

This is a large flourishing Sea Port Town. Went to the Post-Office. 

13th. — Examined his books: questioned him and found that he under- 
stands his businefs thoroughly ; he laments that he cannot put the Ad;s ot 
Parliament in force. He says that if every vefsel arriving at this port 
were to send her letters to the office the income wou'd be doubled and 
the revenue increas'd in other parts; but when he sends to the Ship Mas- 
ters, they insult and threaten his mefsengers ; the Custom House officers 
tho' directed by Aft of Parliament to admit no vefsel to entry without the 
Post Masters certificate, take no notice of the aft. 

He has remitted the last quarters accounts with the balance due thereon 
to the Comptroller. He complains much of the Post riders; he begs 
that the complaints may not appear to have come from him, because the 
riders being of service to the people on the road have many friends in the 
country as well as in town, and the name of informer (which his official 
representations would incur from his neighbours) wou'd hurt him in his 
businefs, but in conscience he looks on himself as obligated to represent 
the following matters : 

"That the riders come loaded with bundles, packages, boxes, canisters, 
"&c. — every package has a letter affixed to it, which the rider claims as 
"his own property and perquisite; nay sometimes a small bundle of chips, 
"straw or old paper accompanys a seal'd packet or large letter, and the 
"riders insist that such letters are exempted from postage." 

"The riders have told Mr Kilby that the Devil might ride for them if 
"these way letters and packets were to be taken from them. In short, they 

By Hugh Finlay. 41 

"come so loaded that it is impofsible for them to come in time. The 
"load of news papers is so very great that the printers can afford a sum 
"of £60 yearly for the bare carriage." 

"The Portmanteaus seldom come locked: the consequence is that the 
"riders stuff them with bundles of shoes, stockings, canisters, money or 
"any thing they get to carry, which tears the Portmanteaus, and rubs the 
"letters to pieces — this should be prevented by locking the mails." 

From the representation of Mr Kilby and if it be true, that they ride off 
the road to deliver summons's and buy oxen on commifsion and drive them 
while they have his Majesty's mails under their care, it is impofsible that 
they can be pundual in their arrivals. 

If their Bonds are renewed and the oath tendered to them again, and if 
they are commanded not to employ a rider who has not previously taken 
the oath, perhaps it wou'd make an imprefsion on them. 

Every rider shou'd be furnished with extrafts from the several acts of 
Parliament and short set of instruftions deliver'd to him that he may 
never plead ignorance. 

If the rides were reduced to 30 miles, the riders well paid and kept 
stridtly to their duty, I am fully convinced that the mails wou'd be for- 
warded with speed, and the Revenue wou'd be greatly increased by this 
means, as no body wou'd chuse to risk a letter for a place at a distance, 
which must unavoidably pafs thro' the hands of many different riders, 
neither wou'd the riders chuse to take charge of it. 

Herd and Peat are concerned in the riding work — they both live at Strat- 
ford, miles to the Eastward of New York. They carry the mail week 
and week about. 

42 Journal kept 

Herd takes it up from Peate on his return home and proceeds with it 
to the office at 

Norwalk on Friday 22 miles, 

New York on Saturday 55 

Norwalk returning Tuesday 67 

New Haven on Wednesday 23 

Saybrook on Thursday 44 

Stratford where Peate takes it Friday 58 


Peate takes the same Tour, and so alternately taking eight days to ride 
279 miles, which is but 35 miles a day. 

They may pretend that they are at great expence for horses ; it is only 
a pretence. An afs cou'd travel faster, they seldom or never change horses. 

They have excuses always ready framed when they come in late — "their 
horses lost shoes" — "they were detained at ferrys." — It is their own busi- 
nefs alone which detains them. They have sometimes said that it was too 
hot to ride and at other times that it rain'd and they did not chuse to get 

The lower Post shou'd arrive on Wednesday at 12 o'clock, but it is 
often 3 and later ; they are dispatch'd from the office immediately, yet they 
are seen in Town two hours afterwards transacfting businefs on commifsion; 
he returns or rather ought to return on Thursday evening about six, but it 
is very often later. 

The upper rider or he who goes by Springfield, Hartford &c. to Boston 
shou'd arrive at this office from New York on Saturday morning 8 o'clock 

BY Hugh Finlay. 43 

but he makes it frequently 11 or 12 ere he gets in. He returns from 
Hartford on Monday night at 7 o'clock. It is remark'd that when the 
sons ride (Herd often employs his sons) they get in in time, they are 
young men and not so much employ'd in the commifsion businefs. 

Mr Kilby is oblig'd to attend the office on Wednesdays, Thursdays, 
Saturdays and on Mondays, sometimes all the day and part of the night. 
If the riders did but their duty it wou'd ease him much. His office does 
not neat him above £12 Str. 'f> annum. He begs to have some allowance 
in consideration of his great trouble and close attendance. He keeps his 
office in a small corner of a very small shop. 

While I was in the office the rider for Hartford arriv'd, it was 1 1 o'clock. 
His Portmanteau was not lock'd, it was stuff'd with bundles of different 
kinds, and crammed with news papers: the letters for the different stages 
were not put up in bags, the rider had saddle bags quite full besides, so 
that his horse (a poor looking beast) was loaded too much to make the 
necefsary speed. 

After settling with Mr Kilby, and instruding him in his duty relative 
to checking the riders, I left New Haven and proceeded 21 miles to 

The road is stoney in some places, but a good road on horseback. 

The High Sherrif for the county waited on me, and represented that an 
office is much wanted in this Town to hinder the impositions of the Post 
riders. He informs me Herd not long since deliver'd to him a letter 
from New York mark'd in red ink 2, which he did understand to be 2 dwt. 
or 6d. Str., but the rider wou'd not deliver it to him, unless he wou'd pay 

44 Journal kept 

him two shillings lawful money equal to i of a Spanish milled dollar, which 
he was oblig'd to do knowing the letter to be of consequence — he show'd 
me the office mark, it was a single letter mark'd i dwt. — he further says 
that this is an ordinary pradice with the post riders, and it has more than 
once happened to him. 

A letter was deliver'd to the rider at New York as it was too late to go 
in the mail ; he brought it here, but wou'd not deliver it without receiving 
3s. for it tho' but single. 

He seems afsured that an office here wou'd benefit the Revenue, as there's 
numbers of letters for this place in a year, and as this is the best settled 
county in Conneflicut, he thinks it wou'd help its trade and be of particular 
advantage to the people of the Town especially when the court sits here. 

If the Post Master General shall see it proper to establish an office 
here, Mr Burr would recommend the care of it to Mr Elijah Abel, for 
whose good condudt he will become bound. 

He says that Andrew (old Herds son) is a careful man, but Ebenezer 
(another son) exafts and is carelefs. 

Rested here all Sunday, next day, the 15th, proceeded 12 miles in broken 
stoney road to 

Norwalk. Mr Belding, Post Master. 

Examined his books and found thsm in order, he keeps his office in a 
small apartment lock'd up. He has not remitted his last quarters accounts; 
he said he wou'd do it very soon and remit the balance of about ^£5 lawful. 

The yearly amount of Postage here does not exceed £20. 

BY Hugh Finlay. 45 

The rider for the Lower stage arrives here from New York on Tuesday 
at one o'clock and returns from the Eastward on Friday evening at 6 o'clock. 

The upper rider to Hartford arrives from New York on Friday at one 
o'clock and returns from Hartford on Tuesday about six o'clock in the 
evening but this is only when the roads are good : in winter the riders are 
very irregular. 

On taking notice to Mr Belding that there is no way letters enter'd in 
his books, he remark'd that the riders undoubtedly pocketed the money 
collefted for way letters, of which there comes many as he says, within his 

The riders sometimes inadvertently put letters into the office which they 
wish to conceal, not a great while since there was one put into the office 
by the rider mark'd Postage paid. Mr Belding demanded the money of 
him for that letter, but he obstinately refus'd to pay it, insisting that all 
letters he cou'd pick up between any two offices were of right his perquisite. 

As a proof that the couriers conceal large sums from the office which are 
raised from wav letters, Mr Beldings information is sufficient. 

Before he had charge of the office the riders used to leave many letters 
under his care, for which he colleded the money, and he accounted with 
them weekly, but since he has been appointed Post Master they do not 
shew him one single letter; yet he knows that they bring many every trip 
and leave many behind them with a friend who coUefts the money for them 
in their absence. 

In short, I find that it is the constant pradice of all the riders between 
New York and Boston to defraud the Revenue as much as they can in 
pocketing the postage of all way letters. Every Deputy Post Master 
complains against them for this practice, and for their shameful tardinefs; 

46 Journal kept 

likewise of the barefaced custom of making pack beasts of the horses which 
carry His Majesty's Mails. 

Every Post Master making complaint, or giving official information, 
begs that his name may never be mention'd as having made any of those 

17th. — Left Norwalk and proceeded 41 miles to Kingsbridge in good 
road, and next morning rode 15 miles in very fine road, and arrived at 

New York, 
Where the General Post Office is kept under the care of John Antill, 
acting for Alexander Colden Esq., the Deputy Post Master. 

I remain'd at New York untill I had Mr Foxcroft's permifsion to pro- 
ceed, which was not before the 6th of December; as he was in dayly ex- 
pedlation of the arrival of the Odlober Packet from England, he was un- 
willing that I shou'd leave New York before she came in, because he 
look'd for instrudtions for the Surveyor by her, from which he intended 
to model a set of Instrucflions for me. 

In the mean time I was employed in visiting Mr Colden, and learning 
Mr Foxcrofts opinions concerning, and plans and intentions for the better 
regulation of all matters relative to the Post office, imprefsing them on my 
memory that in the course of my survey I might apply that instruftion to 
the benefit of the office as circumstances might point out. 

The books in this office are regularly kept, and the quarterly accounts 
regularly delivered to the comptroller. 

Great dispatch is given to the different riders, who are, pundually sent 
off at the stated hours. 

BY Hugh Finlav. 47 

Soon after the arrival of a mail the letters are quickly deliv'd by a runner 
always in time for answers to be return'd in course ; this regulation gives 
much satisfaftion to the publick. 

There's some matters respecting the management of this office, and atten- 
dance given, which Mr Foxcroft finds great fault with. As he is on the 
spot, he will check the acting Post Master and his clerk, and put every 
thing on a proper footing, I therefore make no mention further ot the 
New York office, only to note the dayly businefs there done, and to add 
a remark or two of Mr Antills. 


Journal kept 


A mail from Philad^ 
arrives at 8 and goes 
out at 10 in the morn- 
ing, very regularly. 

At 1 2 the Boston Post 
by way of New Haven 
New London, Rhode 
Island and Providence 
is dispatched. This is 
called the lower road. 

The Quebec Post by 
way of Albany arrives 
at 4 o'clock P. M., he 

is verv regular. 

The Boston Mail by way 
of Hartford called the upper 
road, is irregular in his arriv- 
als for reasons afsign'd in 
this Journal under the Boston 
head, but in common he ar- 
rives between 5 in the even- 
ing and 10 at night. 

The Albany Post which 
carrys the Canadian Mails is 
sent of at II A. M. A mail 
arrives from Philadelphia at 
10 and the Post returns at 
12. The Packet Mail is 
made up and dispatched from 
this office the first Wednes- 
day of every month at 12 
o'clock at night. 



The Post for Boston The Post from Phil» ' A Post from Boston by the 

by New Haven, Hart- arrives at 1 1 o'clock A. ; lower road arrives between 5 

ford and Springfield, M. and returns at one ' and 10 at night, sometimes 

called the upper road is o'clock. it is Sunday, for reasons af- 

sent off at noon. \ sign'd under the Boston head. 

BY Hugh Finlay. 49 

Mr Antill wishes that the letters sent from England by the Packet cou'd 
be sorted in London, each city its different bundle viz. N. York, Phil a , 
Boston, Quebec, Montreal, &c. ; his reason for mentioning this wish is, 
that it often does happen that there is not time to afsort them before the 
departures of the different riders or at least of some of them, by which 
means they lie in the office untill next post day which makes eight days 
difference to Canada for instance when the Packets arrive on Wednesday 

He further says, that instead of charging this office (which tho' called 
the General Office, is to all intents and purposes managed and conducted 
as are all the other offices, and in like manner, accountable once in every 
quarter to the Comptroller) with the letters from England, the Comptroller 
shou'd be made accountable for them, and he shou'd charge each office with 
the English bills. 

I remark that there's a column in every deputys accounts for mifsent 
and forwarded letters, Mr Antill can easily take credit for all the letters 
charged to his office, which he forwards to other offices as heretofore. 

29th. — The Oftober packet boat, Duke of Cumberland, Capt. Mitchell 
arriv'd at New York. There came no Instruftions for a Surveyor; there- 
fore Mr Foxcroft concluded, that it would be best for me to proceed im- 
mediately to Charles Town in South Carolina, there to take orders ^nd 
diredions from Mr. Roupell the Dep. Gen. for the Southern district and 
to make my Survey there beginning at the Southern extremity, and so 
proceed regularly Northward, as perhaps by the time I reach Suffolk in 
Virginia, the most southern Post Town in the northern district, Instruft- 
ions mav arrive from England whereby Mr Foxcrott will be enabled to 

50 Journal kept 

give me more ample and clear diredions than he can at present do and he 
will have them waiting my arrival at Suffolk. 

This arrangement being made, it only remains to write to England by 
the Packet which will sail on Thursday the zd of Deer., advising the Post 
Master General of my intended route which Mr Foxcroft designs to do. 

6th December. — I left New York in company with Mr Foxcroft for 
Philadelphia referring the survey of the offices this wav until my return 
from Carolina. 

8th. — Got to Philadelphia. Just look'd superficially over matters in 
the office there, the books were neat clean and in proper form and order, 
every thing in and about the office had the air of regularity and care. 

9th. — At four o'clock afternoon I embark'd in a vessel bound to Charles 
Town in South Carolina where I arriv'd the 14th at noon; the distance 
run is 750 miles ; we had fair winds and weather remarkable fine and warm. 

Hugh Fi 



December the 14th 1773. — Immediately on my arrival I went to Mr 
Roupell's house, he was not at home, I left Mr Foxcrofts letter of intro- 
duction at his house, and afterwards went to the Post-Office, which is kept 
by the Secretary in a room in the most frequented coffee house in the most 
publick part of the Town ; there I left my name, my businefs and a direc- 
tion to my lodging in case Mr Roupell should have immediate commands 
for me. 

15th. — Waited on Mr Roupell in the morning to inform him that I was 
ready to receive and obey his orders. 

From the 1 5th December to the i st January following at times employed 
in examining into former transadions in this General Office, previous to 
Mr. Roupells appointment, and found the Books, accounts, papers and 
every thing relative to the former management in the greatest confusion, 
so as to render it impofsible from them, to learn the true state of the offices 
in this district. 

I found that Mr Roupell had been at a great deal of pains to gather 
knowledge of matters in his Distrift; he gave me all lights that he had 
been able to colled, and nothing further with resped to the debts due by 

52 Journal kept 

the different deputy's could be known, until things were compared with his 
sketch, at the different offices. 

We plan'd new regulations and proposed proper forms which perhaps 
may be necefsary hereafter to follow ; and thus having settled matters 
with Mr Roupell I left Charles Town (after receiving written diredtions, 
on the 1st of January, accompanied by the contrader for the riding north 
to Wilmington, a ride of i8o miles; Mr Roupell reported him to be a 
careful diligent man; we therefor concluded that it would be for the good 
of the service to hire him as a guide, that we might be able to judge of his 
ability to undertake the ride between Charles Town and Savannah, and 
both partys having examined the road, a contrad: might immediately he 
enter'd into on such reasonable terms as the nature of the route wou'd 

We left the Town in the morning. I was in a Solo chair. Wills the 
guide was on horseback, leading a horse to relieve the chair horse, for in 
this country no single horse that one can hire is able to perform such a 
Journey. In this Province Travelling is most extravagantly expensive. 

From Charles Town to Ashley ferry is lo miles in a very level road, 
but we wade thro' a deep heavy sand very fatiguing to horses ; this ferry 
is well attended ; their flats or skows as they are called, are good, and drawn 
over the river about 30 yards wide, by a rope. The weather was very 
warm, we chang'd our horses and proceeded six miles to Rantoal bridge, 
the roads still sandy and heavy tho' not so deep ; here and there we got a 
peep of a plantation thro' the dull pine trees that shade the road. In the 
cleared places the surface is scantily cover'd with rank rufset weeds. We 
see no verdant fields as to the Northward, nothing but Pine, Sand, and 

BY Hugh Finlay. 


Swamp, the branches of the trees are over hung with grey thready moss 
resembling the shaggy hair of a he goat. 

One of the horses gave out here ; we proceeded after dinner with the 
first horse i8 miles in a road not so heavy as that we have pafsed; this 
horse also requir'd a constant whip, it wou'd require four such beasts to 
make common speed on this road — the horses of this country are starv'd, 
weak, lean, small brutes. There's hardly a pofsibility of getting forward 
without one's own horses, but on these roads they run a risk of being starved, 
for there's nothing to be had, but the leaves of Indian corn dried instead 
of hay, and in lieu of oats they give them Indian corn which founders a 
Northward horse. It is a shocking country to travel in, both for man and 
beast. Slept at Ponpon, a small village 34 miles from Charles Town ; 
there's a toUerable Tavern here. 

2d. — Proceeded 7 miles to Acheepoo bridge over a small River, 16 miles 
farther we halted to dine ; the road is good, in a streight line cut thro' 
pine woods, now and then we see a swamp, consequently a rice plantation 
these situations are very unhealthy ; we came sometimes to avenues leading 
from the high road terminated by farm houses at a quarter, half and some- 
times three quarters of a mile distant. After dinner we rode on, but at 
the end of four miles our horses were so tired, that we were obliged to re- 
main here, the place is called Pocotalago ; it rained all day ; thick stinking 
fogs hung o'er every swamp. We could not find a horse here to hire, or 
for sale. 

3d. — Next morning proceeded 5 miles to Coosawhatchay river over 
which was once a bridge which is now broken down ; they keep a very bad 

54 Journal kept 

skow here, very ill attended ; from hence we went on nine miles to a poor 
hut without windows called a Tavern, and could go no farther, our horses 
being quite knocked up. 

The weather was rainy, raw and dull, the road was good and streight thro' 
pine barren, gloomy and unpleasingly uniform. The promise of extrava- 
gant payment cou'd not procure a horse for hire ; I was obliged to buy a 
small creature, the best of half a dozen for £5 Str. 

We put up at this miserable hut and there remain'd until next day, that 
we set out early in the morning very dark and in heavy rain. 

4th. — With my new purchase in the chair, and leading the fatigued horse 
we rode 16 miles to Purysburg, wet to the skin, the rain had soak'd thro' 
my portmanteau. The road is very streight, some parts of it is clayey, 
but few farms in the way. 

Purysburg is a stragling village on the River of Savannah about 38 miles 
from its mouth, it was orginally settled by French protestants, they make 
silk here but in very small quantitys. 

We remain'd here three hours to dry ourselves, and then embark'd in a 
wooden canoe rowed by three Negroes, and in about four hours and a half 
got down with the tide to Savannah, the distance is 24 miles. The water 
of the river is very thick, its shore is a stinking mud; the land on each 
side is low and swampy. Halfway down we see plantations, the farm houses 
are built on the rivers side on hills of sand called bluffs, some are built in 
low situations, and are surrounded when the River overflows. The tide 
flows within 6 miles of Purysburg. 

I sent Mr Roupells letter immediately to Mr Thomson the Deputy; 
he waited on me, and we chatted on office businefs. 

BY Hugh Finlay. 55 

He declines keeping the office any longer in his own name, but he will 
superintend it, and find a person qualified to take charge of it, and he 
wishes for the interest of the office to preserve an authority over him. 

Mr Thomson reports that many people of whom better things might be 
expefted, rather than send their letters in the Mail, will send for the rider 
and make a private bargain with him to carry their dispatches ; the riders 
are but too apt to secret letters for their own emolument. 

One Mackenfufs rides between Charles Town and St. Augustine in East 
Florida; after the arrival of the Packet boats in Charles Town, he sets out 
with the Mail for Savannah, Sunbury and St. Augustine and returns. 
This trip he takes twelve times in the year. On one of those trips he fell 
sick and employed a man to ride for him, this man came to office drunk, 
he deliver'd about 50 loose letters to Mr Thomson. Next day he return'd 
to the office and demanded the letters as his own perquisite, saying that it 
had been the former praftice and that he had been instrufted to follow it. 
Thus was Makenfufs charg'd with an unwarrantable praftice, but when he 
was question'd on this matter he denied that he had ever taken any money 
in this way. 

This points out the necefsity of obliging the riders and their servants to 
take the oaths and to give bond, and to furnish them with printed abstrads 
from the ads touching their duty. 

The Gentlemen in Sunbury have often earnestly applied for a Post be- 
tween their Town and Savannah, Sunbury is a thriving place, Trade en- 
creases there rapidly ; they labour under many disadvantages for want of 
a speedy way of conveying letters to and from their Town. 

It is thought that if there was a weekly post establish'd between Charles 
Town and Savannah the Postages wou'd far exceed the expence of the rid- 
ing work. 



By vefsels from different parts of England to Charles Town, many let- 
ters are sent for people in Savannah, Sunberry and St. Augustine, these go 
to the care of some persons in Charles Town, who forward them by the 
first coaster offering; no man in these parts wou'd think, of forwarding a 
letter by water if there was an opportunity by land. 

Now if a weekly post were here established, it wou'd be proper to ad- 
vertise it in the London Papers for sometime, and in the Carolina, Georgia 
and Florida coffee houses, to make the publick and especially the London 
Merchants trading to these parts acquainted with the dispatch with which 
their letters can be conveyed from Charles Town to all parts Southward. 

It may be here observed. That the present ad obliging Masters of 
Vefsels to carry their letters to the Post office is of no effeft in America, 
they have no inclination to pay obedience to anv revenue aft, and at pres- 
ent they say that if they are obliged to put letters into the Post office they 
must pay for them before they can get them out again, and this is one 
mode of taking money from them without their consent, therefor they will 
pay as little regard to that law as is pofsible to be done, and it can easily 
be evaded, since the Master has only to say : Every letter that I have on 
board concerns my cargo, and therefore I shall not deliver one of them at 
the Post office. 

If the Master of every vefsel were obliged immediately on his arrival to 
go to the Post office and there make oath, — " That the letters now deliver'd 
"are all the letters, which came in his vefsel, whether committed to his 
"care or the care of any person on board, to the best of his belief and 
" knowledge, excepting such as he knows to concern the cargo," — the 
Revenue would encrease amazingly. 

BY Hugh Finlay. 57 

It is further to be observed that very few coUeftors observe to require 
the Post Master's certificate ere he admit the vefsel to an entry. 

If the present aft cannot be amended a strift order from the Treasury 
to the Commifsioners of the Customs in America to ifsue their commands 
to all Colleftors for this purpose, will be of service. 

To return to the Sunbury people they propose to raise money by sub- 
scription towards paying a rider between that place and Savannah, indeed 
13 Gentlemen have already subscribed ,£20 Str. for this purpose. 

The 5th went with Mr Thomson to the Post-Office where I found every 
thing in the best order, he is an excellent officer and has the encrease of 
the Revenue at heart. 

The whole amount of the postage received at his Office is £ 75 Str. conse- 
quently at 20 ^ ct. his salary will amount to £15. 

Nota. — There's no inland postage charged by Mr Thomson on the let- 
ters which he receives here to go by the Packet from Charles Town to 
Falmouth and by the Post Master's bill I perceived that there never has 
been any inland postage charg'd from Charles Town to this place ; and I 
am apt to think that none has ever been charged to and from St. Augustine. 
On my return to Charles Town this matter shall be enquir'd into. 

The late Mr Stevens Sec'y to Mr Delancy sent a form to Mr Thomson 
by which to keep his accounts ; by it he was direfted to take a commifsion 
on all letters pafsing through his office, he perceived that it was an error, 
and therefor never charged commifsion excepting on the moneys received 
by him for Postage. 

Mr Thomson is coUeftor of the Port of Savannah, and obliges all Cap- 
tains to bring their letters to him before he will admit them to an entry. 

58 Journal kept 

but he complains that under the pretence of letters belonging to the cargo, 
not one half is ever deliver'd at the office. 

Waited on Governor Wright. His Excellency urges the necefsity of a 
Post between this place and Charles Town ; he is persuaded that it will 
encrease the Revenue, and he promises to do every thing in his power to 
promote its intrests. 

Demanded a settlement of Dr Eraser's accounts ; he was a deputy in Mr 
Delancy's time, but as I before observed the Books of the General Office, 
were not kept regularly, and his debt cou'd not be ascertained from them. 

He says he cannot settle with me because his children and negroes in his 
absence from home got into his office and destroy'd his Papers, but as soon 
as Mr Roupell will send him an account of the debt, he will pay it. He 
believes it is about £27 Str. this he said before me and in presence of Mr 

The Kings Attorney was in the Country but Mr Thompson will wait 
on him at his return and demand the sum recovered by him from one 
Whitefield, a former D. Post Mr, and when he receives it he will remit it 
to Mr Roupell. 

I saw many of the principal people in Town ; they all prefs hard to have 
a weekly post established between this place and Charles Town. They 
say, that from their Commercial connexions they are fully persuaded that 
there will pafs more letters between the two places than will pay the ex- 
pence of riding. Whenever a regular and speedy conveyance by land is 
established correspondence will much encrease. 

As the Post from the Northward arrives at Charles Town on Saturday 
evening, the route and the Post days may be as follows, then Sunbury will 
be included. 

BY Hugh Finlay. 


Let the mail for Savannah be made up at the General Post-office on 
Saturday night and leave Charles Town on Sunday at day break, and 
arrive at Savannah on Tuesday, and from thence let the Post for Sunbury 
set out an hour after, and arrive there on the next morning, Wednesday. 
Let him remain there but a few hours and return and be in Savannah on 
Thursday morning; The Mail for Charles Town may be dispatched at 
midday, and arrive there on Saturday. 

The present expence of a monthly rider. 

Mackenfufs has £i6 f) Trip from Charles Town to St. 

Augustine via Savannah; say that he makes 12 

Journeys in the year, it will cost 

A rider from Charles Town to Savan- 1 

... , ^ y - £100 

nah to ride once a week may cost I 

From Savannah to Sunbury - 40 

The letters for St. Augustine, will be 1 

forwarded by exprefs from Sun- | 

bury and may perhaps cost £8 ^ [ 

Trip. Say 12 trips in a year 


Encrease of Expense - £44 
to establish a weekly Post which will do more than pay the expense 

'6o Journal kept 

6th. — After a conversation with Mr Thompson on office affairs, I took, 
my leave and went with the tide up to Purysburg where my horses were left. 

Bouche, who keeps Tavern here wou'd be a proper person to take charge 
of an office in this place if it shall be found necefsary to have a house of 
receipt and delivery in Purysburg. 

Rode 1 6 miles to a miserable hut, called a Tavern and there put up; 
the roads are generally deep in their causeways which lead through swamps, 
after rain ; the other parts of the roads are generally good, I mean between 
Charles Town and Savannah, except near the capital they are heavy and 
sandy, all the bridges are in bad repair. A stranger conceives a disadvan- 
tageous idea of the internal Police of this rich Province from the ruinous 
state of these publick matters. 

It seems that the present difference subsisting between the Governor and 
the house of afsembly has put a stop to all Publick businefs. The house 
voted and aftually did remit £1500 of the publick money for the use of 
Mr Wilkes without the Governors consent, or without asking leave, until 
this money is repaid back to the Treasury, the Gov'r will pafs no Law. 
Thus all publick order is at a stand. 

7th. — Set off early in the morning, and rode 9 miles to the ferry of 
Coosawhatchay, there we found the Skow aground, we were obliged to 
hire four negroes to float it. 

The country back of Pocotolago is pretty well settled 'tis said, one 
Vanbibber lives here on the side of the road, he keeps Tavern, his house 
wou'd be a proper place for the rider to leave letters at, and to take up 
letters there left to be forwarded. 

Bv Hugh Finlay. 6i 

Proceeded 19, some say 22, miles; the road is clayey in some parts, 
and always muddy after rain, from Acheepoo we rode 7 miles to Ponpon, 
where I spoke with Mr McKenzie one of the principal merchants in this 
village, his opinion is that but few letters wou'd pafs by post to or from 
this place as there's dayly oportunities for Town ; yet in case it may be 
found proper to have an office here, he would recommend a Mr Wallace 
or a Mr Herbertson to take charge of it. 

8th. — Left Ponpon in snow, hail, sleet and rain alternately, excefsively 
cold, to Ashley ferrv, 24 miles and from the ferry to town 10 miles, where 
I arrived in the evening. 

I observe that there's many crofsroads in the way between Charles Town 
and Savannah and no direftions set up to guide a stranger, it is impofsi- 
ble that he should keep the road he wishes to follow. 

The road on the whole may be called good, it is heavy in some parts, 
the bridges are in bad repair, there's three ferry's in the way, Ashley, Coo- 
sawhatchay and the Savannah River. 

9th, 10th, iith. — Remain'd in Charles Town consulting with Mr 
Roupell, and preparing for the Survey of the offices to the Northward. 

1 2th. — Received my despatches from Mr Roupell in the afternoon, 
found the boat which was to carry me over or rather up Coupar River 
was aground, so that I was detain'd untill morning. 

ijth. — Mr Wills the Contraftor for this ride to Wilmington agreed to 
accompany me, that we might view the road and learn his riders conduft, 
and common mode of proceeding. 

62 Journal kept 

We proceeded to Hobcau 4 miles in a boat, and on horseback 17 miles 
before dinner, and 23 i after dinner to Santee ferry — the road very good, 
but sandy in a few places. The taverns are inconceivably bad. 

To travel with comfort through this part of the world, a stranger shou'd 
be furnished with letters of recommendation to the Gentlemen and Plant- 
ers living on the road, but to a man who has businefs to mind this method 
of travelling wou'd be attended with inconvenience for the hospitable 
Americans kill you with kindnefs, and detain you from pursuing your 
journey, and one woul'd be obliged sometimes to ride 6 or 8 miles out of 
the road to get to the gentlemen's seat, at v/hich you intend to lodge. 

14th. — Crofs'd Santee River about 200 yards broad in a good skow, we 
found a most shocking bad piece of road, from the river's side a mile and 
a quarter through a swamp, called Lynch's causeway. It is a tradl of 
boggy land, the road thro' it is made of logs of wood laid crossways, and 
cover'd over with the mud of this bog ; after rain it is a mere puddle. 
The horses sunk between the logs up to the belly. The rider with great 
reason complains much of this causeway, as it is next to impafsable some- 
times, and in the best of weather he runs a risk of breaking his horses 
legs and his own neck. 

Nothing can be done in a publick way until the affair of the grant to 
Wilkes is settled. 

At the end of the bad causeway there's another ferry of about 100 yards 
wide, well attended. 1 1 i miles farther is Sampit ferry opposite to George 
Town very ill attended; it is private property. The rider says that he is 
detain'd here six hours sometimes. We got over to George Town with some 
difficulty. This is a thriving place, vefsels drawing 13 foot water can load. 

BY Hugh Finlav. 6^ 

here. The Town is i8 mile from the sea, its trade encreases and conse- 
quently its correspondence. There has been no deputy here since Mr 
Tyghe died in Oftober. 

I examined a book which was shown me as the only book he had ever 
kept, but there was nothing in it but a few memorandums of debts due by 
the towns people for postages — mere triffles. I found Post Masters bills 
from Charles Town but none from any other place. The debt due by 
him must be coUefted from the books at Charles Town and at Wilming- 
ton. There's no check for way letters received by him. Since his death 
the mail has been generally deliver'd at the Tavern, and the Tavern 
keeper accounted to order from Charles Town. 

The people in town two months ago strongly recommended one James 
Robertson to be deputy, to whom Mr Roupell sent a commifsion and 
instruftions by me ; which I was direfted to leave with Dodor Gibb to be 
deliver'd on Robertson's taking the oath and giving bond. 

I went to Robertsons and gave him some direftions, and shew'd him 
how to keep his accounts. 

There never has yet been more than £5 ~(J ann. received in this place, 
but it will certainly encrease. 

After having instrucfled Mr Robertson and deliver'd the first mail to 
him, I left George Town and embark'd with our horses in a flat, and 
went down the River Sampit half a mile to its mouth where Pedie, Waco- 
man and Black River join and form a bay 22 mile acrofs. When the 
wind blows but a little it is impafsable for flats, and there's no ferry boat 
for horses kept here, at this ferry the Post runs many risks, and he is often 
detain'd by winds. When we got to the other side the sun was not an 
hour high, and we had 14 miles to ride thro' the woods in a very crooked 

6+ Journal kept 

path. We lost our way and found ourselves on the sea shore. We came to 
an indigo plantation where there was nothing for our horses ; they told us 
that we were three miles from a tavern ; they gave us a negroe to conduft 
us in the dark, when we got there we were told from within to go about 
our businefs, they kept no publick house, nor had they anything for our 
horses. It was ten o'clock, quite dark, our horses were fatigued, we were 
tir'd, and on being told that it was 14 miles to the next house, we beg'd 
we entreated we prayed to be let in. At last the door was open'd by an 
old, infirm, walking skeleton, there was no soul in the house beside but 
his cripple wife. 

The old man was prevail'd on, by the promise ot an exorbitant price 
to spare us some corn and corn blades for our horses, and we enclos'd 
them in a field of sand. 

There was no bread in the house and nothing but bad water to drink — 
he had no bed — I pafs'd the night in a chair, often looking out for day. 

15th. — Set out before sunrise, and at the end of 17 miles saw some 
plantations, we rode thro' heavy white sand, the road runs parallel with 
Wacoman River, and is never more than two miles distant from it. On 
all rivers there's a stripe of swamp pretty well settled in common, but the 
pine woods intercept one's view and render the road dreary indeed. 

We stop'd at a farm house where we were very politely receiv'd, and 
they gave us the best thev had. Thev made their cakes of Indian meal 
and roasted them before the fire. They never eat wheaten bread. 

We proceeded a few perches to the sea side, here we found it half ebb, 
a firm hard beach, it is called Long bay, which appears not to be a bay but 
a streight strand of 144 miles in length; it can be pafsed only at ebbing 

BY Hugh Finlay. 65 

tide, you have the Atlantic on the right, and great hillocks of loose sand 
on the left. At the end of the 14.I mile we struck of to the left, at an 
inlet to the sea, which at high water makes a large pond behind the sand 
hills ; these inlets are called Swashes in these countrys. Leaving the beach 
we ride thro' pine woods 3^ miles to the first house, here we got a dinner 
by way of favour and paid well for it. The man keeps no tavern, but he 
takes money for his victuals and toddy; at such houses a parcel of ragged 
children and dirty servants are set down at table with every traveller. 
Proceeded 7 miles farther and were well receiv'd bv an hospitable planter, 
and with him we remain'd the night. 

I 6th. — Left our hearty Planter, and rode 42 miles thro' heavy sand to 
a house called the Boundary house, because the line dividing South from 
North Carolina runs thro' the middle of it, one half of the hall is in one 
Province and the other half in another. 

From this house we continued our journey in a road thro' a pine barren, 
the stumps of trees are covered with rank wither'd grafs, which makes 
riding dangerous; Wills at the end of 14 miles was taken with a fit of 
fever and ague, I was obliged to stop for him at a log hut called a Tavern. 
In a few hours his fit went off, and we proceeded 8i miles to Lockwood's 
folly, and remained there all night. 

Half a mile from the log Tavern, there's a swamp without any cause- 
way, after rain it is very dangerous, the rider is often stop'd here ; the 
road is bad farther. Thus far there seems that no care is taken of the 
roads in this Province. 

66 Journal kept 

17th. — Good road 5 miles to a small log house; near it there's two bad 
bridges, and a little farther there's a very bad bridge over a run of water, 
and a very long bad causeway after it. PVom the last log house we rode 
9 miles and then the road turns short off to the right leading direftly to 
Brunswick. We proceeded streight forward thro' deep sand to a saw mill 
7 miles and from thence to a Tavern two miles from Wilmington, is 14 
miles farther in a deep sandy road, without a single hut, and we met but 
one traveller all this day. From this Tavern we see the town of Wilming- 
ton at the end of an avenue cut through an island, two miles across; this 
island is in Cape Fear River, and lyes in the manner here described : 

The island is a swamp, the road is laid with logs of trees, many of them 
are decay'd, so that the causeway is quite broken and full of large holes, 
in many places 'tis with difficulty that one can pafs it on foot, with a horse 
'tis just pofsible. This public avenue to the most flourishing town in the 
Province, will induce a stranger to believe, that the people in this country 
have no Laws, such is the report concerning North Carolina. This bad 
swamp detains the Post. 

I pafsed the first ferry in a small leakv flat, the second in a large one 
but very wet. 

BY Hugh Finlay. 67 

Went to the Tavern, and while I sat there, the Post rider deliver'd a 
parcel of newspapers to a person in the room, demanding is. for his 
trouble, the man to whom it was deliver'd open'd it and took a letter out 
of it; on seeing this I reprimanded the rider in presence of a good many, 
and forbid him to take any money for the carriage of the bundle — telling 
him at the same time that he had err'd thro' ignorance, but that I shou'd 
take care that the printer shou'd not defraud the office a second time, for 
that he shou'd never be permitted again to send a newspaper by any of 
His Majestys riders. 

Took a lodging in Wilmington, Mr Hooper the deputy waited on me. 

On the whole, the road from Charles Town to Wilmington is certainly 
the most tedious and disagreeable of any on the Continent of North 
America, it is through a poor, sandy, barren, gloomy country without 
accomodations for travellers. Death is painted in the countenances of 
those you meet, that indeed happens but seldom on the road. Neither 
man nor beast can stand a long journey thro' so bad a country where there's 
much fatigue and no refreshment; what must it be in their violent heats, 
when I found it so bad in the month of January! 

When the Post comes to be well regulated there must be at least four 
changes of horses to carry on things with the necefsary despatch on this 
road. Riding in the Southern Provinces must always be attended with 
much more expense than in the Northern. The difference in the price of 
horses is a great objeft, and then provender to the Southward is bad, 
scarce and dear, and the unhealthinefs of the climate, soon wears out the 
best constitutions when exposed to the sun in the day, and the night dews. 

iSth. — Wrote to Mr Roupell and inform'd him of some things touch- 

6S Journal kept 

ing Post office affairs, and recommending Wills (from his care and anxiety 
to perform his contraft) for the Southern ride to Savannah. Wrote to 
Mr Robertson of George Town with further direftions concerning his 

The rider between this place and Newbern represented to me this day 
that he cannot continue in the service unless his wages are augmented. I 
told him that I should give him an answer after I had consulted with Mr 
Hooper and had examin'd the road. 

19th. — Employ'd in reading over a correspondence between Mr Hooper 
and Mr Roupell concerning sundry matters to be settled here and at 

20th. — At the Post office. In consequence of the insight obtain'd from 
the above correspondence, and Mr Hoopers explanation of matters, I got 
a perfed knowledge of an affair that is to be settled with Mr Davis at 
Newbern ; he contrafted with the Post-office to forward the mails between 
Wilmington and Newbern; he gave it up on the 31st of August, 1771, 
as appears by his letter to Mr Hooper of that date, after which time Mr 
H. did aftually enter into contrad with one named Shepherd, who has 
continued in the service ever since. Davis claims payment for the riding 
work in consequence of his agreement with Mr Delancy, altho' he gave 
up his contraft in August, 1771, and has not employ'd any rider since 
except for one month. 

Mr Davis is debtor to the General Post office for the monies he 
received during the time he afted as Deputy at Newbern ; he never trans- 

BY Hugh Finlav. 69 

mitted any account, it is my businefs to bring him to a settlement, I have 
for that end desir'd Mr Hooper the deputy here to give me an extrad: 
from his books of all the letters forwarded by him to the office at New- 
bern, during the time Mr Davis afted. 

20th. — The Rider shou'd come through Brunswick in his way from 
Charles Town to this place; it is the port of entry for this town 15 miles 
nearer the sea. It will make the way longer, but being a trading town, 
and the only port of entry for all places on Cape Fear River, there shou'd 
certainly be a Post-office there were it only to receive the ship letters for 
Wilmington and the places adjacent. 

Many letters come into this Port for Newbern, Edenton and all parts 
of the Province; the Masters of vefsels throw 'em perhaps carelefsly into 
a Tavern, there being no Post office to take them in ; the complaints 
against this praftice are loud for many letters are thus lost. The Merch- 
ants therefor Pray to have an office established at Brunswick, that all ship 
letters may be put on shore there that they may be certain of receiving 

There is a growing place a hundred miles above this Town, called Crofs 
Creek ; there's much commercial connexion between the Merchants here, 
and those settled there, they therefor wish for a weekly Post between the 
Two Towns of Wilmington and Crofs Creek. 

It is impofsible to do anything to Purpose towards establishing a regular 
Post in the Southern distrid, on an advantageous footing to the Revenue, 
until the mails are conveyed weekly without stops or delays all through 
Virginia, and so South along thro' North Carolina all the way to Charles 

At present it is long before an answer can be had between Charles Town 

70 Journal kept 

and New York (they say it requires ten weeks) that no body in either of 
these two places thinks of writing by Post; so that in short the Post in 
the Southern distrid is of no benefit to Revenue and but of very little use 
to the Publick in its present state, but would be of infinite utility if it 
were once so regulated as to convey letters from New York to Charles 
Town in i6, i8 or 28 days. This may be done, then woul'd answers be 
had in five or six weeks, and correspondence by Post wou'd be preterr'd 
to precarious conveyances by water. 

I found that it is a confirmed opinion at Charles Town, that letters sen 
by Post are seldom deliver'd owing to some mismanagement at the Junction 
of the Northern and Southern distrifts ; but it is not publickly known, that 
there's a Post for the Northward every fortnight. 

Mr Hooper wrote letters to Boston and sent them by Post, on purpose 
to see if the report was well founded ; he says they never got to hand. 

No Post office plan can be properly carried on in this part of the world 
without men versed in businefs with a certain share of the esteem of the 
people will take it in hand, and very few will take the trouble without an 
equivalent for their pains. 

Every Deputy shou'd have an office, for when the publick sees letters 
thrown carelefsly about in an open room or store, for every comer to handle 
it is natural to conclude and it is accordingly concluded that letters are not 
safe under a deputy's care. When I spoke to the deputy's about this ir- 
regularity, they one and all said, we have much trouble with the post, we 
cannot set apart an office, we receive the letters into our houses to oblige 
the Publick, and as for the Commifsion it is such a trifle it is not worth 
accepting, we cannot negled our afi^airs to give more attention to this 

BY Hugh Finlay. 71 

matter. The publick good is the sole inducement for taking so much 
trouble as we do. 

I think that if a small allowance were made to each deputy in this distrid:, 
proportion'd to his Trouble, that it wou'd be for the benefit of the Revenue. 
I would allow from £5 to £20 Str. f* ann. to the Deputys and oblige them 
to have a place in their houses or stores, set apart as an office, to which no 
person shou'd have accefs but such as may have taken the oaths of a Post 

I would have a weekly Post from Town to Town and as soon as a regular 
and speedy conveyance is properly fix'd from New York to Charles Town, 
I wou'd advertise it in England, in all the Coffee houses and Publick 
places in every Trading city and Town, and in all the newspapers in Britain 
during manv months ; likewise in the newspapers. Almanacks and Registers 
published in America. 

By this means it woul'd be found, that, every vear after the first or 
second, there will be an amazing encrease of the Revenue. 

After three or four years, the mode of paying deputys may be altered, 
if necefsary. 

Frequent application has been made to Mr Hooper for a weekly Post, 
between this place and Newbern ; he thinks that it wou'd defray its own 

2 1st. — At the office with Mr Hooper; it appears that he has taken 
much pains to keep up the riding work, and to instruct other deputys. 
His books are in a form given him by the late Mr Delancey. I do not 
approve of it. They shou'd adopt the Northward form in everything, 
except in entering the letters in 4 columns, Sing: Doub: Tr: Pack't and 

72 Journal kept 

pennyweights, instead of which say so many letters (reducing them all to 
singles) at so much ^ amounting to so many shillings Str. 

The Southern rider is irregular; his stage is too long; he shou'd arrive 
on Sunday evening and return towards Charles Town on Monday. Every 
thing is neat and in order with Mr. Hooper, who seems to be a Gentleman 
in every sense of the word ; he is a great acquisition to the office in this 
part of the world. The Northern rider is pun<5lual, but he will not take 
the oath nor will he give bond. The reason is obvious he makes some- 
thing by way letters; no person can be found in this place or at Newbern 
except the present rider, for that reason I dare not prefs him, else the rid- 
ing work would stop, or we should be oblig'd to pay perhaps triple the 
sum to another; on his return from Newbern, I will do my endeavour to 
renew the contradt with him, and if pofsible, engage him to take the oath 
and give bond. It is exceeding difficult to find riders in North Carolina. 

Mr Hooper deliver'd to me a great parcel of Post-office accounts rendered 
by Mr Hewis Deputy at Edenton, to be redify'd and settled by me, with 

Mr Hewis is a man of the best character, a Gentleman of merit (as is 
said) who has taken charge of the Post office solely to serve the Publick ; 
as I am informed the trouble at his office is great for all the letters for any 
office to the Southward of Virginia are sent to Suffolk, the last office in 
the Northern distrift, and from thence they are sent in one parcel unafsorted 
to Edenton, the most Northerly Office in the Southern District, and Mr 
Hewis is obliged to sort them, and make them up in different mails. 

By a very erroneous form which the former Secretary Mr John Stevens 
sent to all the Deputys as a rule to walk by, he has been led to charge 
commifsion on the amount of all letters pafsing through his hands as well 

BY Hugh Finlay. 73 

those he forwards to other offices, as those in his own delivery. I will shew 
him that this is uncustomary and was never charged; nor allow'd to any 

I am aware that he may plead that he was direded so to do, but as he 
is a gentlemen I hope to settle the matter easily. 

Mr Hooper pays the Northern rider, Henry Shepherd, ^£65 Proc. ^- 
ann., equal to £36.11.3 Str., the distance is 93 miles, this he performs 
once in 14 days, from one place to the other and back again. 

On the 22d. — Took an account of the letters sent to Newbern and to 
George Town from this office, to enable me to ascertain Davis's and Dr. 
Tyghe's debts to the General Post-office. 

•23d. — Sunday. 

24th and 25th. — In company hear'd it regreted that there was no safety 
in sending any thing to the Northward, by Post, to the great inconveniency 
of the people in trade in those parts. 

Mr Hogg, one of the principal merchants in this place remitted the first 
and second of a set of bills of Exchange by Post to Philadelphia; they 
never got to hand, a coaster carried the third bill sate. 

Many instances of the insecurity of the conveyance by Post have been 
given in my presence; all that I have been able to say in answer to these 
matters was, that I was commifsioned to put the Posts on the best footing, 
that in my Survey I shou'd put every thing to right; that I suspefted 
some mismanagement at the Junction of the Northern and Southern distrift, 
which I shoul'd undoubtedly reftifv. 

74 Journal kept 

26th. — Learnt the story of the bad causeway leading to this place, and 
over which the Post pafses in danger of life two miles. Publick report is, 
that the Governor and Province granted the ferry to Colonel William Dry 
for ever, on condition that he and his heirs should make and keep in good 
repair a high way thro' the Swampy Island before mention'd. The Colonel 
finds that he made a hard bargain, and he does not attempt to mend the 
road ; he has been indifted more than once, yet the road is still bad. The 
King's attorney (his son in Law) has not yet prosecuted, tho' the world 
calls fye, anci every person pafsing and repafsing is in danger ot breaking 
a leg or an arm, yet from vear to year it is complain'd of and yearly 
grows worse. I wrote to Colonel Dry on the strength of an introduftory 
letter I had to the Colo., begging of him to recommend a careful person 
at Brunswick to take charge of a Post office there. I did intend to go 
down myself, but the effects of my ride from Charles Town, had render'd 
it painful for me to sit or walk. 

o-yth. — Colonel Dry very jsolitely and obligingly wrote that in case he 
cou'd find nobody to take charge of the office he wou'd take care of it, un- 
til a proper person cou'd be found. 

Mr Hooper at my request wrote to Mr Lord the former Post Master 
in Brunswick, begging him to accept of a Commifsion. For a reason not 
afsign'd (but be it what it wou'd it must have been a bad one) the Post 
was order'd not to pafs thro' Brunswick in Mr Delancey's time. Mr Lord 
has answer'd that he is ready to aft, whenever he shall be properly author- 
ised so to do, on condition that a small allowance be made to him for his 
attendance and for office rent. The letters sent from his office will be 
manv, the Postage received by him a trifle. I shall recommend it to Mr 

BY Hugh Finlay. 75 

Roupell to comply with his request, as it will be of advantage to the 
Revenue, and will give satisfaiflion to the Trading body in this place. 

28th, 29th, 30th. At the Hermitage a few miles from Town where I 
met many of the merchants, and Gentlemen planters. The improvement 
of the Post was often talk'd of, my endeavour was on all occasions to af- 
sure the Publick, that it was the command of His Majesty's Post Master 
General to put the American Posts on the best footing pofsible, and that 
for that end solely was I sent among them. 

31st. — I made a proposal to Mr Boyd, the printer, to carry his Papers 
by post to Crofs Creek, a place already mentioned, once a fortnight. 

The Newbern Post arriv'd regularly as he always does; the Charles 
Town Post not yet arriv'd tho' this is the day appointed, for that riders 


February the first. Mr Boyd, the printer, proposes to ride up to Crofs 
Creek, and as soon as he knows how many papers he can send, he will 
make an offer of a sum to the office for carrying them. 

The Northern rider has made a claim tor extra expences for detention 
past the time fix'd for his departure ; he waited for the arrival of the 
Charles Town rider until 3 o'clock; he said he was detain'd by the ferry 
men from George Town over the Bay, and his horse tired. Three changes 
are scarce sufficient for this ride. 

76 Journal kept 

Saw Colonel Dry, and thank'd him for his obliging offer to serve the 

Wrote a long letter on Post-office affairs to Mr Roupell, particularly of 
Brunswick, and Crofs Creek. 

2d. — Ordered the Southern rider always to bring certificate of his having 
been detain'd and bv whom, or what means. 

3d, 4th, 5th, and 6th. — Waiting Mr Lord's arrival from Brunswick in 
consequence of his promise to wait on me to receive my answer to his 
proposal to Mr Hooper, but seeing that became not, and having recover'd 
of my bruises, I intend to set out to morrow, as the people are very im- 
patient to see a post establish'd between this and Brunswick. 

7th. — Set out for Brunswick to survey the road, and to fix matters with 
Mr Lord. I have wrote to Mr Roupell for a commifsion for him. 

The bad causeway already mention'd lies in the way ; after the two ferrys 
there's 13 miles of pretty good road, tho' some parts of it are heavy 
sand, all the way through a miserably poor pine barren. 

Mr Lord went by water in the morning to Wilmington to meet me, his 
wife said that he wou'd not fail to return immediately on finding that 1 
was iiere to see him, I therefore determined to wait his return. 

8th. — Deliver'd to Mr Hill, the Deputy Collector of this Port, a printed 
abstract from the act of the V of Geo: HI concerning ship letters; he 
said he wou'd pay due observance to it. 

BY Hugh Finlay. 77 

9th, loth. Mr Lord not retiirn'd; I then concluded that he was wait- 
ing for my return to Wilmington, and I left Brunswick; on my arrival at 
Mr Hoopers, I found that Mr Lord had left Town about an hour. 

nth, lith. — Writing duplicates of my last letters to Mr Todd to be 
sent bv the first vefsel from hence to England. 

I ^th. — Sunday. 

14th. — The Southern and the Northern rider arrived here punctually 
and met at the office about ten in the morning, altho' the two last days 
were very wet; the Charles Town post came by way of Brunswick; I had 
no letters from Mr Roupell in answer to my two last to him on office 
businefs; I know not if he has as yet appointed Mr Lord to be Deputy 
at Brunswick, and I am ignorant of his intention concerning the Crofs 
Creek proposal of which I wrote fullv the first of this month. 

15th. — Wrote to Mr. Roupell and to Mr Lord on ofiice businefs. 

16th, 17th, I 8th. — Waiting Mr Lords answer to my last letter. 

19th. — Receiv'd a letter from Mr Lord, enclosing one from Mr Roupell, 
which came under his cover by the last post. Mr Roupell is very full in 
answer to mine concerning the Brunswick and Crofs Creek Posts; Mr 
Lord excuses himself for keeping back this letter, thus, " He intended 
" to follow the post to Wilmington ; having received his Commifsion, his 
" intention was, to take the oath in my presence and to give Bond before 

yg Journal kept 

" me ; he was taken ill on the road and oblig'd to return," and he adds, 
" That he will be up in a few days to receive instruftion from me." 

Sunday 20th, or 

Monday 21st. — Return'd answer to Mr Lord that I wou'd wait for him, 
and desir'd him in the meantime to look out for a person to carry the ship 
letters between Brunswick and Wilmington. A good negro will do the 

Leave Brunswick every Monday 

return on Tuesday 

Come up to Wilmington Wednesday 

return on Thursday 

Up again on Friday 

down to Brunswick Saturday 

Rest on Sunday. 

By this foot post, Wilmington will have constant communication with 
Brunswick, the Port. 

2ad, 23, and a4th waiting for Mr Lord. 

2^th. — Received a letter from him which marks no kind of intention to 
be up, but raising difficulties about the dayly runner propos'd in my last. 
I think it is very necefsary to go down to settle this matter. 

26th. — Left Wilmington and arriv'd at Brunswick early, went to Mr 

BY Hugh Finlay. 79 

Lord, heard the oath administer'd to him and saw him sign the bond, 
both which I took into my pofsefsion. I instruded him in his duty. 

He cannot find a boy for lefs than £30 Proc. "^ ann. to go even twice a 
week, Mondays and Thursdays £30 Proc. is equal to £16.17.6 Str. 

The Collector and Comptroller promise once again not to admit any 
vefsel to entry without the Post Masters certificate. 

Delivered at Mr Lord's office, blanks which I got printed at Wilmington, 
viz. certificates for Ship Masters and Post Masters bills, also a parcel of 
abstradls of the ad: of the V of Geo: HI with a preamble, to be shown by 
the Pilots to Masters of vefsels. 

Having fixed Mr Lord in his office, and done all that appear'd necefsary 
to be done, I took my leave. He is to forward all ship letters by exprefs, 
until a stated regular conveyance shall be fixed ; each exprefs will cost but 
a Triffle considering the number of letters he will carry, it is necefsary to 
shew much speed at first, the encouragement to carry this scheme through 
is great, as every merchant declares that his Captain shall put their letters 
into the office at Brunswick. In the evening the Charles Town Post 
arrived, and brought letters |;^j the Nov'r Packet; there was none for me; 
this determines me to proceed to New Bern after a conference with Mr 

T^th. — Mr Hooper proposes to hire a negroe boy to go down to 
Brunswick twice a week; this service he thinks may be perform'd for £12 
or £15 Proc. f> ann. 

Set out in the afternoon for New Bern in a very sultry day, 'tis reckoned 
93 miles distant. From this day until the Tuesday following, on the road 
to Newbern. In the memory of the oldest man living there has not been 

8o Journal kept 

such heavy rains nor of so long continuance. The whole country is over- 
flow'd, all the bridges are carried away, every brook is swelled to a deep 
impafsable river, in short we are here prisoners in a country Tavern. 

With infinite difficulty, and no small risk of being drown'd in pafsing 
the rivers in flats (a kind of boat very ill calculated for pafsing the rivers 
in their present state, for they run like mill sluices) we got to Newbern. 

8th ot March, and waited immediately on Governor Martin. 

9th. — Saw the Deputy Mr Dowce, who told me that he cou'd not attend 
to any businefs during the sitting of the afsembly ; I also saw Mr Hewes 
of Edenton (Member for that place) who takes charge of the office there ; 
we talk'd office matters over. 

One Mr Macnair from Halifax on Roanoke represents, that if the mails 
were forwarded from Virginia that way to the Southward, two wide and 
dangerous ferrys wou'd be avoided, and that it wou'd not be farther about ; 
but in this case what becomes of Edenton. 

25th. — From my arrival have not been able to do any Post office businefs 
as Mr Dowce was otherwise employ'd and cou'd not attend. He informs 
me to day that his businefs as a Surgeon makes it impofsible for him to 
give the requisite attendance and attention to the Post office and therefor 
he begs that a deputy may be appointed in his stead. 

I intend to examine the road from hence to Halifax and from thence 
down to Edenton and examine the road from that place to Newbern ; and 
after a settlement of Post office affairs return to Halifax and Survey the 
road from thence to Suffi3lk in Virginia. 

BY Hugh Finlay. 8i 

Mr. Dowce agrees to keep the office until my return from Halifax. 

26th. — Left Newbern. Rode 8 miles to Bachelors creek over which 
there's a bridge ; it is now down but will be rebuilt in a few days, ao miles 
farther Swifts creek, the bridge in the same way, 15 miles farther put up at 
a Tavern. 

27th. — A mile farther crofsed Tar River 200 yards wide in a fine flat, 
by going round a mile or so, and keeping the banks of the river near, one 
can pafs over a bridge 30 miles higher up at a village called Tarborough. 

We proceeded 14 miles and crofs'd a bridge over Conetaw Creek and 
31 miles farther lodged at a miserable hut. 

28th. — Proceeded 16 miles farther to a creek easily to be pafs'd at ; 
times and 8 miles farther sometimes over rising grounds to 

The road all the way is a hard dry sand. This place contains about 50 
houses, stores are kept here to supply the country round with European 
and West India Commoditys for which Pork, Tobacco, Indian corn. 
Wheat and Lumber are taken in return. The distance from this place to 
Newbern is 1 15 miles. 

Travellers from the Northward to Charles Town generally pafs this way 
to avoid the ferrvs over Albemarle and Pamlico sounds. This Town is 
distant from Suffolk in Virginia 75 miles, and the same distance from 

As there's no established post between any Town in Virginia and Halifax 

82 Journal kept 

they employ a private rider to bring their letters from Williamsburgh once 
a week, this rider pafses through Petersburgh. 

The people here wish to have this made a Post Town in the route of 
the Post to Charles Town. I shall be a better Judge of the propriety ot 
changing this route after having pafsed between Edenton and Newbern. 

29th, 30th and 31st March, ist, 2d and 3d April at Halifax. 

4th April, left that place, and the 9th got to Edenton. We crofs'd the 
Roanoke at Halifax 200 yds. wide in a fine flat, at a place called Windsor, 
we crofs'd Salmon creek and we crofs'd Chowan after a gale of wind which 
detain'd us two days at the ferry house, the ferry from Dawsons to Town 
is 8 miles. From Halifax to Edenton is 90 Miles. Edenton is the most 
Northerly Post Town in the Southern distridt, distant about 30 miles from 
the line dividing Virginia from North Carolina, and 55 from Suffolk, in 
a fine road. This place has but little intercourse with great Britain, but it 
has great trading connexion with the West Indies. The Town contains 
160 houses and about 1000 souls Whites and Blacks. The ferry over the 
Sound of Albemarle occasions many delays to the Post when an Easterly 
wind blows ; or when the wind is strong at West, it is impafsable for the 
Pafsage boats, which are none of the best. 

Mr Hewes was in the country, and did not return to Town before the 
I 2th. He has no office set apart but receives the letters in his compting 
house, and one of his clerks delivers them. 

He inform'd me that tho' he had remitted his accounts, they were yet 
unsettled, and he demanded time to make them out for me (ever since he 
had charge of the office) and promised to deliver them by the iHth. 

BY Hugh Finlay. 83 

He was punftual to the time; by the State, deliver'd, there appear'd a 
balance of £26 Str. due to him; I examin'd them, found them without 
error and drew a bill on Alex'r Colden Esq'r, Comptroller of the Post 
office at New York, for that sum in his favour. 

It is to be observed, that the money receiv'd by Mr Hewes for Postage, 
never paid the Commifsion charg'd by him. As has been mention'd before, 
Mr Delancy sent him a Form by which to model and keep his accounts, 
he pointedly observed that form, and charged 20 "f^. ct. as well on all letters 
pafsing thro' his hands if sent from other offices, as on the money received 
for letters in the delivery of his office. All letters for any office to the 
Southward or Northward of him were sent to him, on these he charged 
commifsion, and thus his commifsions amounted to more than the moneys 
received at his office and every quarter there arose a balance to him. 

If he had remitted a regular quarterly account to Mr Roupell, he wou'd 
have check'd him and sent him a proper form, but he never sent any before 
July 1773. 

As soon as Mr Roupell received them he informed him of his errors, 
and employ'd Mr Hooper Deputy at Wilmington to put him to right, 
but Mr Hewes insisted on his being right, and so in fa6t he was, for he 
followed exaftly the instruftions given him. Thus the affair now stands; 
and I find that it wou'd be a hardship on Mr Hewes to make him give up 
his claim, even if I could, it has been nothing to him, one of his clerks 
had the profits. By insisting on this matter the office wou'd lose a careful 
officer, a man of sense and Character, who will do every thing in his power 
to advance the interests of the office. 

For these reasons I settled the affair with him by paying the old balance, 

84 Journal kept 

and on his part he will observe the proper form, charging only 20 f^ ct. on 
the amount of postage received by him, which will be but a mere triffle. 

The Post days at Edenton are as follows. 

The Post from Suffolk arrives on Wednesday at noon once every fort- 
night very regularly. 

The mail for the Southward lies at this office until the Friday in the 
week following. 

The rider from Bath Town arrives here on that day with the mail from 
the Southward, and carrys back to Bath the letters for the Southward, 
which have lain so long here. 

The mail brought by the Bath rider lies here from Friday until Monday, 
when they are sent to Suffolk by Mr Hewes's rider, who returns to this 
place on Wednesday at noon with the mail from the Northward, and so 
on continually. 

The letters for the Southward lose ten days here, and those for the 
Northward lose three. Perhaps in former times letters may have been lost 
at this place, there's no apartment appropriated for their reception, they 
lie loose in an open compting house, and lie for a long time. At present 
there is an appearance of care. But were all Post Masters to put up their 
letters in a proper manner, and diredt each parcel for the office of delivery, 
much trouble would be saved to this office ; and there wou'd be lefs risk 
of losing letters, yet risk there will always be until each Deputy provides 
a place for his letters to which no person may have accefs but such as have 
taken the oath. 

Mr Hewes pays £26 Str. ^ ann. for riding work between Edenton and 

BY Hugh Finlay. 85 

19th. — Crofs'd over Albemarle Sound from Edenton to the opposite 
Shore 12 miles, it is often impafsable for days it renders it inconvenient 
for a Post route. 

■20th. — Proceeded to Bath in a level firm road thro' a very poor country, 
it is a small insignificant place on Pamlicoe River. William Brown the 
deputy does not receive 40 s. ~^. ann. for Postage in this place; he never 
kept a book, he has his accounts of receipts of Postage on scraps of Paper, 
by the time that I return on my way to Virginia he will have his account 
made out. 

He contrads with the Office for carrying the mails once a fortnight be- 
tween Newbern & Edenton for which service he has ^£46 Str. ^; annum. 
He says the distance from Newbern to Bath 51 miles 

from Bath to Edenton ferry 42 

Mr Roupell instrufted me to reduce the price of this ride if pofsible, 
and to bring it on the footing of the ride between Newbern and Wilmington 
an equal distance, but Mr Brown wou'd not hearken to this proposal. He 
says he must give it up if any thing is taken off. 

Post days /row Bath. 

The rider sets out on Thursday once a fortnight, and he arrives at 
Edenton with the Southern mail on Friday, if the wind permits him to 
crofs over Albemarle sound a pafsage of 12 miles. 

There he leaves the mail from the Southward and takes up the mail 
from the Northward, and arrives with it at Bath on Sunday morning; this 
mail lies at Bath until Friday (losing 5 days) when they are dispatched for 

86 Journal kept 

Newbern, and there arrive on the evening of that day, and there he ex- 
changes mails, and returns to Bath on Sunday morning, where these letters 
lie until Thursday (losing 4 days) and thus the round is kept up. 

The Province pays the ferry men double fare for pafsing His Majestys 
Couriers ; by this means the Post is never detained at ferrys when there's 
a pofsibility of pafsing. 

2 1 St. — Crofs'd from Bath over Pamlicoe 5 miles, the ferry boats are not 
very good. From this river to Neuse ferry opposite to New Bern is 38 
miles good road, except 3 or 4 miles nearest Neuse ferry it is a heavy 
sand, the ferry is a mile over and the boat is very bad. 

From the 22d April to the 6th May settled accounts with Mr Dowse, 
who resign'd his office. 

Mr Tomlinson succeeds him as Deputy Post Master, I instrufted him 
in his duty, gave him forms, &c., and I shew'd him how to make up the 
mails, and enter them in his books after which I left New Bern on the 17th 
in the intention to visit and examine the road from Halifax to Suffolk in 

At Halifax I spoke with Mr William Martin (one recommended by the 
principal people in Town) about taking charge of an office in case one 
shou'd be established here; he is willing to accept of a Commifsion. 

1 6th. — Crofs'd the Roanoke and rode 41 miles to Wynton a small Town 
on Chowan River, fifty miles from the mouth. 

17th. — Crofs'd Chowan in a fine skow, the river may be 150 yds. wide 
here. Road by Sommerton a small village of no note to Suffolk 34 miles : 

BY Hugh Finlay. 87 

The road is in general good ; in some places there's loose heavy sand. 
The present Route of the mails for the Southward beginning at Williams- 
burgh will measure thus, 

From Williamsburgh to Norfolk 54 miles 

N. B. This includes a ferry of 18 miles. 

From Norfolk to Suffolk 28 

To Edenton 55 

To Newbern including two ferrys, one of 5 and 

the other of 12 miles 93 


The proposed Route to avoid the Ferrys will be 

From Williamsburg to Petersburg 75 miles 

Petersburg to Halifax 75 

Halifax to New Bern 115 

— ^65 

Difference 35 
The difference between the two roads appears to be 35 miles in favor of 
the present route, but by the other way there's no tedious ferrys, there's 
37 miles of water in the road the post now goes, three tedious difficult 
ferry's very often impafsable. 


Journal kept 

A View of the progrefs of His Majestys mails from the time that the 
Post leaves Charles Town in South Carolina until his arrival at Suffolk in 

The Post leaves Char- 
les Town of a Wed- 
nesday and arrives at 

George Town 



New Bern 





Day of the arrival of 
the mails at the differ- 

Z s 

1 ° 


ails are 27 

rles Town 

travel 433 


ers lie bye 






















By this it appears that the n- 
days on the road between Cha 
and Suffolk in which time they 
mile which is but 16 miles f" c 

It is here shewn that the lett 
16 days at different offices. 


The Tardiness of the post discourages correspondence by his Majesty's 
mails to and from the Southern distridl. 

From what I have heard said in the Carolinas on the subject of the 
Posts, it is my opinion that if there were a regular weekly post establish'd 
from Town to Town in the Southern distrift, correspondence wou'd en- 
crease much; and to avoid delays, the route shou'd be changed and the Mails 
for Petersburgh, Halifax, Tarborough, Newbern, Wilmington, Brunswick, 
Geo: Town and Charles Town, be sent the upper road, from New Castle 
or Williamsburg. 

BY Hugh Finlay. 


17th MAY 1774. 

Suffolk is the most Southerly Town in the Northern Distrid ; the letters 
are deliv'd here in the store of the first merchant in the place, by Thomas 
Bell one of the clerks; there is no office, but the letters are carefully lock'd 
up. Mr Bell has no commifsion, he keeps his books neatly and in proper 
form; he has had charge of the office only four months. A Mr Stott had 
charge of it in this place formerly, at his death he owed the Post office 
c£j7.i5.8d. Virginia money which I received from Mr Bell; I enquir'd 
into the state of the accounts since Stotts death. I found that one Fleming 
had been appointed in May 1772, he left Suffialk in January 1773 and put 
the books and office Papers into the hands of Robert McMurdo, and he 
gave every thing up to Mr Bell excepting his account and papers from 
which an account cou'd be made out. As I had no account of the balances 
due to the General Post office, I cou'd not ascertain the sums due by 
Fleming and McNTurdo the first lives in Norfolk, the other in the West 

Mr Bell observes that he has a verv great deal of trouble and no equiva- 
lent for the time and attention that he is obliged to give the Post office 

He savs, that all letters from the Northv\ard for any place Southward 
of Suffolk are sent to him, ami he is oblia;'d to make them into mails and 

go Journal kept 

forward them to their diredions; now if the Post Masters to the North- 
ward were to make up their mails regularly, and send them properly, the 
officer at Suffolk could have no more trouble than any other officer has. 

To the Southward I have instrufted all Post Masters to make up mails 
for the different offices, and as I pafs along to the Northward I shall give 
the like diredlions to the Post Masters, tho' in general they are ignorant 
of the situations of places. For this reason, 

Let every Post Master return to the Surveyor, the names of all the 
places of note within his delivery, that thev may be printed and left at 
each office as a diredlory to the Post office. 

For instance Milners and Richmond are places of trade where there's 
no office; a Post Master at Baltimore in Maryland or Quebec in Canada 
may not know to what place in Virginia to send letters direded to these 
places, but looking into the book proposed to be printed he wou'd find 
under letter M Milners in Virginia in the delivery of Suffolk. 

The Post from the Northward arrives here every Tuesday afternoon. 

From the Southward every other Tuesday. 

The Northward Post returns every Wednesday. 

The Southern post returns every other Wednesday. 

Letters for the Southward lie in this office 8 days, I mean such as arrive 
here on the week before the Southern Post comes in. 

The receipt at this office does not exceed £8 "f. quarter consequently the 
Post Masters Salary is but about £6 yearly. There's no rider paid at this 

The rider between Edenton and Suffolk is paid by Mr Hewes. Negro 
riders are often employed, they can take no oath. 

BY Hugh Finlay. 91 

1 8th. — Proceed to Norfolk 28 miles in a fine road. It stands on Elizabeth 
now called Norfolk River a quarter or half a mile in breadth. Portsmouth 
is on the opposite side from whence there's a good ferry. At Portsmouth 
a small Town there's a branch of the Suffolk office. 

19th. — Saw Mr Parker under whose eye the office is kept by Alexander 
Diack his clerk, the letters here as at Suffolk are deliver'd in the Store or 
warehouse. Mr Diack keeps his books and accounts in a neat and regular 

The receipt at this office is j£ioo Str. yearly, 20 f" cent on that sum the 
Deputy's Salary amounts to =£20. The Northern Post arrives on Sunday 
at noon. He sets out for Suffolk Southward, on Tuesday. The mail 
returns towards Williamsburg Northw'd Thursday. The rider from Suf- 
folk is pundual, but the riders from the other hand are rather irregular, 
because that Hampton the office next to Norfolk thro' which all the 
northern letters come, is seperated from it by the junftion of James River 
and Elizabeth or Norfolk River 18 miles; there's no Post boat, and the 
mail is sent over from Hampton in the first pafsage boat offering, in charge 
of the Negroe ferry men; if no pafsengers offer from Hampton to Norfolk, 
the ferryman will not send a boat on purpose to carry the mail, nothwith- 
standing the aft of the IX of Queen Anne, relative to ferrys; at this time 
it would be unadvisable to try an affair of this kind in any court in America; 
this ferry as before observed is 18 miles over; there's one in Virginia of 60 
over Chesapeak Bay when the aft was made, it is likely that they did not 
advert to the hardship of a man's being obliged to carry a Post rider over 
such wide ferrys, for nothing. Would it not be equitable to pay for these 

92 Journal kept 

ferry's the same sum that is paid for conveying a mail the same distance 
by land? 

The rider between Norfolk and Suffolk is paid £25 Virg'a money "if. ann. 

This office accounts with Williamsburg. 

Hampton's the Port of entry for Norfolk, the masters of ships entering 
there, seldom deliver their letters at the Post office at this place; if any 
letters are brought up in the Vefsel they are thrown down on a Table in a 
Tavern or Coffee house, tor every nian to pick out his own. 

It is here said that the mails from the Northward are brought to them 
in a round about tedious way, and the people complain of it as a grievance. 

They say that by the way of the Eastern shore of Maryland, Philadelphia 
is but 248 miles distant, and the present Post route is 400. It is agreed 
that the Bay of Chesapeak may be at times a great hindrance to the Post's 
speed this way, yet 'tis allow'd in general that the shortnefs of the route 
far outweighs that objection for the boats that ply acrofs the bay are 
very fine, and will never be stop'd thrice in a year by bad weather. By 
this route they can have their advices 8 days sooner than by the present 
post road. It is also said there are many counties, on the Eastern shore, 
unaccomodated with Posts; Trading countys to encrease the revenue. 
The deputy show'd me letters that had been lying for sometime in the 
office, direded for the Colleftor and Comptroller of Accomack, but he had 
no way of forwarding them. 

I saw Mr Fleming, the former deputy ot Suffolk, he says he put all these 
affairs into McMurdo's pofsefsion, 'and he is gone to the West Indies; 
so that this debt whatever it may be appears desperate, for Fleming is a 
poor man. 

BY Hugh Finlay. 93 

23d. — Embark'd in a pafsage boat, and was 5 hours in getting over to 
Hampton, a small Town, the Port of entry for Norfolk and Suffolk. 

I have already observed that the mails from Williamsburg &c. for all 
parts South of Hampton are put on board the pafsage boat that first offers 
for Norfolk after the Posts arrival ; it sometimes happens that no pafsengers 
ofFer for a day or two, in that case the letters remain in Hampton too long 
to be forwarded from Norfolk by the Southern post; thus the Suffolk 
merch't and all Towns in the Post route have their letters detain'd from 
eight to fourteen days. 

On the other side, the mails from the Carolinas are detain'd at Norfolk, 
when no ferry boat offers, so that before they arrive at Hampton the rider 
is gone for York and Williamsburg, thus 8 davs are lost on this side ; let 
it be observed that this does not happen frequently. Mr Francis Riddle- 
hurst is deputy at Hampton, he also accounts with the Post ofSce at 
Williamsburg, the receipt here is a mere trifle, not £10 currency ^. ann. 
If the colledor of this, and every Port on the Continent were to do their 
duty, refusing to admit vefsels to entry without producing the Post Masters 
certificate, I am positive that the good effefts wou'd soon be felt, it wou'd 
further the interest of the merchant and encrease the Revenue. I left an 
abstraft of the V of Geo: III with the CoUeftor. 

There's no office set apart here, but things are kept in good order. 

The post arrives here from the Northward every Saturday. He returns 
to York and Williamsburg every Friday. When a Ship Master delivers 
his letters here, those for the Northward if it happens not on a Post day, 
are sent by Exprefs to Williamsburg, bv that means this office pays more 
than it receives. 

94 Journal kept by Hugh Finlay. 

Proceeded 24 miles in a fine road to York. 

Next day, tiie 24th, Saw the deputy Mr Allan Jones; this is the Port 
of entry for Hanover, New Castle, and all parts of York river. This office 
accounts to Williamsburg. He has no place set apart for the delivery and 
receipt of letters. 

He receives about £14 yearly, but as at Hampton, it w'd increase if ship 
letters were deliver'd to him, at least the revenue wou'd encrease, by the 
inland post of such letters. I left several abstradls from the ad concern- 
ing ship letters, with him. 

The Post arrives here from the Northward on Saturday. 

The Post from the Southward arrives on a Friday. 

Mr Jones informs me that he was induced to accept of the care of the 
office here, that he might be exempted from serving on Jurys or as a Militia 
man but he has found that the exemption sent him is no proteftion. The 
Militia court martials have fin'd him thrice; these fines he has paid rather 
than give up a claim founded on His Majestys Royal proclamation. He 
says that at this time there's an execution against him to levy fines for re- 
fusing twice to serve as a Juryman. 

He wrote to the Governor, The Earl of Dunmore in Dec'r last respeft- 
fully representing his case ; but he has had no Answer. 

Unless the Judges of the different courts in America will pay regard to 
the Exemption in question no person will accept of a deputation from the 
Deputy Post-Masters General. 




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